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City hosts Civil Rights/Fair Housing Summit on April 26

Summit will discuss advances in civil rights and the future of the civil rights movement

The City of Kansas City, Mo., Human Relations Department’s Civil Rights Division will hold its Fifth Annual Civil Rights/Fair Housing Summit on Friday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd St.

This year’s theme is “The Quest for Civil Rights: Have We Achieved the Dream?” The summit explores advances made by the civil rights movement and invites discussion on whether there is a continuing need for traditional civil rights movements and organizations. The event is being held during National Fair Housing Month.

“We have a black president now. People of color and women are professionals, CEOs, elected officials and other important position holders,” said Mickey Dean, assistant to the director in the Human Relations Department. “Some may think the movement has succeeded and we have truly arrived. Others say they know better, and in some respects, we’re behind where we were 40 years ago.”

The keynote speaker is Marc Lamont Hill, one of the nation’s leading hip-hop generation intellectuals. His work covers culture, politics and education, and has appeared in numerous journals, magazines, books and anthologies. Hill has lectured widely and provides regular commentary for media outlets like NPR, Washington Post, Essence magazine, The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. Since 2009 he has been on the faculty of Columbia University as associate professor of education at Teachers College.

In addition to Hill’s speech, there also will be a panel discussion featuring young adults ages 21 to 35 who will give their perspectives on the necessity of a civil rights movement today.

Other issues the summit addresses include fair housing, youth advocacy in the civil rights movement and disparity in health care.

The luncheon speaker is James Perry, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. One of Perry’s major initiatives has been to fight in New Orleans and Washington, D.C. for fairer payouts by the Road Home Program. This post-Katrina homeowner assistance program has paid more than $8.9 billion to almost 130,000 residents across the Louisiana coastal region. On behalf of residents displaced by the hurricane, Perry led his organization’s successful lawsuit against St. Bernard Parish, which passed an illegal ordinance that resulted in racial discrimination.

The summit is free and open to the public. Lunch is provided at no cost, but preregistration is required. To register, call 816-513-1842 or visit

Any person with a disability who desires reasonable accommodation to attend this event may contact the City’s 311 Call Center at 311 or 816-513-1313, or for TTY, 816-513-1889, or by email at


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