“We Have Victory on the Horizon”: 21- Day KC Occupation Declares Ceasefire

Brynn Laurel

10/23/2020- Kansas City, Missouri

The People's City area in front of KCMO City Hall on the evening of 10/23/2020

Photo by Andrei Stoica

After 21 days, the People’s City occupation at City Hall in Kansas City, Missouri has come to a close--for now.

"We are declaring a ceasefire because we have victory on the horizon,” said attorney and activist Stacy Shaw. "This is just a pause...we are going to be prepared to be right back on the ground if our demands are not continuing to be met, and so if we have any stopping in political movement toward our demands, we are coming back."

Shaw said there were discussions and changes coming regarding investigations of Kansas City Police Department officers, police department use of force policies for pregnant individuals, and other legislative and policy changes on the horizon.

“We have a historic commission that is being created to decouple law enforcement from public safety,” explained Ray Billis of Black Rainbow, but noted that “even that is not as important as the relationships that we've built over the last three weeks.”

Those relationships will, activists hope, also continue to drive priorities for city and county government, by pushing for a focus on the houseless community and on mental health resources.

Protesters were also connecting those in the houseless community to resources for safe housing at the close of the camp, and the People’s City has had therapists and mental health professionals onsite at various times throughout the occupation.

Overall, Shaw said the movement they have seen has been encouraging. “Because of your support, we have been able to make political movement in only three weeks, where it has taken people months and years to get this amount of political movement,” she told protesters. She said further information about next steps would be released via social media and press release in the coming weeks.

"We started calling this the People's City, and we didn't really know what it was going to turn into, and it turned into something so beautiful,” Billis said.

Steve Young, one of the leaders for the regular Friday night protests at KCPD Headquarters, said that while this Friday night was about tearing down and cleaning up, the regular protest will be back next week.

"We're going to pause for a second, but next Friday, we're going to pick it right back up,” he said. "We're going to be calling out all these killer cops. We're going to name them. We're going to speak truth to power. We're going to make sure that they understand that we're not going anywhere. Friday night protest is still going to be here--Friday, 6 o'clock."

Published on: 10/23/2020