KC Tenants Protests Jackson County Evictions Hearings

Brynn Laurel

1/7/2021- Kansas City, Missouri

Protesters gather outside Jackson County Courthouse to disrupt evictions hearings slated for January 7, 2021. The event was part of KC Tenants' Zero Evictions January initiative.

Photo by Andrei Stoica

On Thursday, January 7, KC Tenants, a multiracial housing rights advocacy group, staged an online and onsite protest against eviction cases being heard at the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City, Missouri. In spite of the CDC’s eviction moratorium through January 31, evictions have continued. The 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri was set to hear 219 eviction cases on the Landlord/Tenant docket.

KC Tenants activists flooded the online courtrooms to disrupt eviction hearings and force delays in cases, some until next week. At the same time, a group of protesters gathered outside Jackson County Courthouse, blockading the entrance and announcing to any trying to enter, “The court is closed today.”

“If the judges won’t end evictions, we’ll do it for them, by any means necessary,” said Ameerah Sanders, a KC Tenants leader.

Several tenants shared their stories of facing eviction during a pandemic.

“When COVID hit, my hours got cut back. My hours got cut back, and I had to make a choice on what I should take care of at that moment. It was a choice between rent and food. I chose to take care of me and my baby and make sure we could eat,” said Jailin Willis, a tenant facing eviction next Thursday, January 14. “My life is more important than my landlord’s profit. Period. My daughter’s life is more important than my landlord’s profit. Period.”

“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,” said Keonya McIntosh, a mother of four who was recently evicted and is currently experiencing homeless.

“Kansas City is better than this. I know it is,” said Kenneth Gobble, who was recently facing eviction after having his hours cut due to the pandemic. He has been granted an extension until the beginning of February, but said he isn’t sure what he will do then if the city does not step in with a more substantial moratorium through the end of the pandemic.

Thursday’s event was the second court disruption KC Tenants has organized in 2021, with the first being on Tuesday, January 5 in Independence, Missouri, where KC Tenants activists delayed 103 evictions on the docket for Eastern Jackson County Courthouse.

Thursday’s event kicks off KC Tenants’ “Zero Evictions January” initiative, which includes protests, rallies, email campaigns, and other advocacy work around ending evictions for residents of the Kansas City metro.

Published on: 1/8/2021