As a child growing up in south Kansas City, Missouri, I would make periodic trips to The Plaza with my family. When we neared Troost Avenue, the historic dividing line between Black and White Kansas City, my father would say, “Lock your doors. We’re in enemy territory.”
I never heard my father use a racist epithet or on any other occasion disparage Black people. I’m sure if someone had told him that his words were racist, he would have been taken aback. But repeated as often as they were, his words left a racist scar in my heart. They shaped my perception of the world around me. I should be afraid of the people who lived east of Troost. Worse, I should see them as my “enemies.”
We recently wrapped up our fiscal year and are now preparing for our annual report. When I think back over the past year, it’s hard to remember much of anything that happened prior to March. Our lives have changed so much since then. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been about six months since the stay-at-home order went into effect in Kansas City.
When we think back over everything that has happened in the past five months or so, it can be easy to focus on the negative. We’ve suffered so much loss. More people are experiencing depression. We’re tired of being stuck inside. But just for a moment, I want us all to think about some of the positives that have come from the era of COVID-19.
Over the past few months, there has been one word that I keep coming back to when I think about weathering this COVID-19 storm: Grit. Having grit means being courageous, having endurance and being resilient. This community has grit. We don’t succumb to hardships. We stand up, dust ourselves off and lean on those closest to us for support as we push forward. At both the individual and community level, we are strong.
Wyandot Behavioral Health Network has received a $215,000 grant from Wyandotte Health Foundation to continue the work of a program that supports grassroots efforts to help communities prevent and heal from trauma. This marks the second consecutive year that the Foundation has awarded its Cross-Sector Collaboration grant to the program Alive & Thrive Wyandotte County.