“I Need Your Solidarity, Kansas City”: Evicted Kansas City Tenant Asks for End to Evictions

1/7/2021- Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City tenant Keonya (left) and KC Tenants organizer Jenay Manley (right) speak at a Zero Evictions January protest on January 7, 2021.

Photo by Andrei Stoica

Jackson County’s 16 Circuit Court Presiding Dale Youngs’ administrative order suspending eviction summons, hearings, and writs of execution for Jackson County, Missouri will expire Sunday, January 24, 2020.

The order came on the heels of multiple direct actions from housing rights group KC Tenants, who have declared this month Zero Evictions January. At a protest to block evictions hearings on January 7, tenants from around Kansas City shared their stories on the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse.

One of those tenants, Keonya, talked about the consequences of facing eviction for herself and for her four children. Her speech from the event, released in a KC Tenants press release, is below:

“My name is Keonya. I am currently homeless, living with my four children in a 2006 Impala.

I was evicted some months ago from the Blue Valley Townhomes over on 23rd. The situation was that my son’s friend got shot and ran over to our place for help. I wasn’t home. I rushed home to make sure my son’s friend survived. Everything was taped off, and the police were there.

The next day, the apartment said “you got 10 days to get out.” It didn’t matter that I saved a boy’s life. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t me or my family who brought the cops to the building. They just wanted me gone.

It was hard being forced to move during the pandemic. It was hard. It was hard. It was hard. I tried applying to live everyplace I could. No one would take me due to the recent eviction.

My kids are not okay. I’m a single parent living in a car with a 4-year-old, a 12-year-old, a 17-year-old, and a 19-year-old. It’s hard when you wake up and you don’t know where you’re going to brush your teeth and wash your butt. The kids ask me all the time: “when are we gonna get a house.” I can see the depression in my four year old daughter’s face.

If I was the judge—if I had power to end evictions—I would do it. I would stop the evictions. No questions. I would stop it. It’s a disease out here! You don’t know who got it. I can’t stay to stay healthy if I don’t have a home.

People don’t look out for you the way you look out for them. That’s the lesson I learned in 2020.

Kansas City, I need you to prove me wrong. I need you to have my back. I need you to have the backs of people like me who have been forced to the streets. I’m here to put my pride aside and say I need you. I need your solidarity, Kansas City.”

Published on: 1/19/2021