In Kansas City, as in other metropolitan areas across the country, racism concentrated low-income African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minority groups in the inner city. Public policies, from the building of the interstate highway system to the denial of FHA-insured loans to integrated neighborhoods, rewarded individuals and businesses for leaving behind the inner city and moving to outlying areas. Poorly designed housing projects concentrated low-income people in central city neighborhoods. That concentration of poverty created social problems that compounded one another: increased poverty in the core, segregation by race and economics, deteriorating and ineffective urban public schools, urban sprawl and environmental degradation, and poor or non-existent public transportation to the affluent suburban areas.
In the midst of these disparities, the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE²) was formed in 2004. An affiliate of the Gamaliel Foundation (an international organizing institute), we focus on racial and economic justice through metropolitan equity and social change. Since our formation, MORE² has been built by the multiracial, multidenominational people who make up our 20 member congregations in Missouri and Kansas. Along with our sister organization in St. Louis, Missouri, MCU, we use the alliance between our member congregations to make systemic, sustainable changes in the public policies that govern economic development, education, transportation and health equity.