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ICYMI: Governor Laura Kelly Op-ed – Commission on Racial Equity and Justice

Key Quote: “That’s why I am announcing that I am convening a diverse and qualified group of Kansas stakeholders, including members of law enforcement and advocacy groups, to form the Commission on Racial Equity and Justice. Its purpose is to develop and recommend policy actions my administration can take to create meaningful and lasting change.”

 Governor Laura Kelly: Commission on Racial Equity and Justice

The Community Voice
Governor Laura Kelly
June 24, 2020

Last month, millions of Americans saw video footage of a Minneapolis police officer with his knee on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes, killing Mr. Floyd. Black men and women being killed at the hands of law enforcement is not new. In March, Breonna Taylor, was killed in her own home by Louisville police officers. But now, cell phones and body cameras have forced many who have never faced discrimination, threats, or violence from the police, to reckon with the fact that our system has failed many of our communities.

Floyd’s death, Taylor’s, and others, like Ahmaud Arbery, moved millions, not just in America, but around the world to demand their leaders make fundamental changes to how police interact with communities that have been empowered to protect.

Racial inequality and injustice have been part of our nation’s history from the beginning. People of color -- especially our Black and brown communities -- have encountered barriers to employment, to educational opportunities, to health care, and to housing.

The recent protests over police brutality and institutional racism are part of a long tradition used by Civil Rights activists to compel our country’s leaders to address racial inequality. Americans have once again stood up and raised their voices demanding reform, accountability, transparency, and their constitutionally-guaranteed rights for all. As elected leaders we must listen, we must learn, we must act.

As Governor, I am committed to ensuring this latest tragedy does not fade into the next news cycle. Communities of color do not have the luxury of time for leaders to ignore these issues any longer. Systemic racism within law enforcement must end.

That’s why I am announcing that I am convening a diverse and qualified group of Kansas stakeholders, including members of law enforcement and advocacy groups, to form the Commission on Racial Equity and Justice. Its purpose is to develop and recommend policy actions my administration can take to create meaningful and lasting change.

COVID-19 has brought innumerable challenges to Kansas and our country, but it has also provided an opportunity to awaken many to inequities that exist at every level our society. We must seize this moment to engage Kansans, to root out the causes, and to make definitive change.

How we move forward will depend upon the willingness of people on both sides of the aisle and of every creed and color to find common ground. Change occurs when we allow ourselves to put our differences aside, work through our shared values to have honest conversations and create real solutions.

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Announcements

NOTICE OF AVAILABLE GRANT FUNDING FROM THE
FEDERAL VICTIMS OF CRIME ACT (VOCA)
VICTIM ASSISTANCE GRANT PROGRAM

Grant funds are available from the Federal Victim Assistance of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Assistance grant program for the funding period of October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021, to eligible applicants.  The purpose of this grant program is to fund public agencies, American Indian tribe/organizations,  nonprofit, community, and faith-based organizations, including underserved and culturally specific populations providing direct assistance to crime victims.   For the purpose of these grant program guidelines, direct services are defined as those efforts that (1) respond to the emotional and physical needs of crime victims; (2) assist primary and secondary victims of crime to stabilize their lives after a victimization; (3) assist victims to understand and participate in the criminal justice system; and (4) provide victims of crime with a measure of safety such as boarding up broken windows and replacing or repairing locks.  A crime victim is a person who has suffered physical, sexual, financial, or emotional harm as a result of the commission of a crime.

All grant applications must be submitted via the Governor’s Grant Portal by 11:59 p.m., August 3, 2020.  To quickly locate this specific grant opportunity in the Grant Portal, use “CRIME VICTIM” for the keywords in your search or access the 2021 VOCA Solicitation at www.grants.ks.gov/opportunities/federal-victims-of-crime-act-victim-assistance-grant-(voca).  Please contact the Kansas Governor’s Grants Program at 785-291-3205 with questions.

Kansas Criminal Justice Coordinating Council 
Notice of Available Grant Funding 
Federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG)

The Kansas Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (KCJCC) establishes the guidelines for the Federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG).  The KCJCC and the JAG program guidelines establish eligibility criteria for all organizations receiving JAG funds.  Eligible applicants for JAG funding include units of state and local government; Native American Tribes; and nonprofit, community, and faith-based organizations, including underserved and culturally specific populations.

Priority will be given to applications clearly supporting the objectives of the current Kansas Statewide Strategic Plan and submitting a complete application.  A copy of the Strategic Plan, as well as a copy of the JAG solicitation, may be downloaded at https://grants.ks.gov/opportunities/edward-j-byrne-memorial-justice-assistance-grant-(jag).  The solicitation is also available on the Governor’s Grant Portal at https://www.kansas.gov/grants/index.do.

All grant applications must be submitted via the Governor’s Grant Portal by 11:59 p.m. July 15, 2020.  To quickly locate the solicitation in the grant portal, use ‘‘JAG’’ for the keyword in your search.  For more information, contact the Kansas Governor’s Grants Program at (785) 291-3205.

KAVA

Please note, the September 2020 KAVA will be a fully online course.  Applications for the September 2020 KAVA have closed, but applications are accepted year-round for the next year’s KAVA.  2021 dates will be released later this year. 

Subgrantee Information

Spotlight

Mark Your Calendar

 2021 Crime Victims' Rights Conference
April 14 - 15,  2021
Hyatt Regency | Wichita, KS

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