By Jane Stoever
“We are humbled!” said Diane Charity, accepting an award for KC Tenants at PeaceWorks’ Annual Meeting, by Zoom, March 6. The award, the Kris and Lynn Cheatum Community Peace Award, honors the Cheatums—former leaders of PeaceWorks—and goes to groups building peace and empowerment in the local community.
“Never an ‘I,’ always a ‘we,’” said Diane. “KC Tenants believes in the ‘we.’ KC Tenants is a city-wide tenants’ union led by multi-generational, diverse people.” Charity explained, “KC Tenants wants to ensure everyone has a safe, accessible, and truly affordable home. Many of our people are priced out of a home.” She continued, “We don’t want rats in our houses. We don’t want mold in our places. We don’t want our babies to live couch-surfing from house to house.”
In February 2019, Charity collaborated with three other women to form KC Tenants: Tara Raghuveer, Tiana Caldwell, and Brandy Granados. They wrote and the KC MO City Council eventually passed the Tenant’s Bill of Rights and Right to Counsel ordinances (the right to counsel concerning eviction). This video presents Charity’s remarks to PeaceWorks March 6.
Announcing the award during the Annual Meeting, PeaceWorks activist Bennette Dibben congratulated KC Tenants for “empowering a more beloved community with awareness, education, and advocacy.” Dibben said that in Charity’s work as community outreach coordinator for Show Me KC Schools, Charity advises homeless families—they can’t give an address—about good schools for their children. Dibben pointed out that Charity “gives back to her community!” and that KC Tenants “has changed the conversation in Kansas City to one of acknowledging housing as a human right.”
—Jane Stoever is a longtime member of PeaceWorks-KC. Copyright 2022, Jane Stoever, Diane Charity, Bennette Dibben, Brandy Granados, KC Tenants, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.