a 10 Mile human prayer chain
to break the chains of injustice
Come stand side by side brothers and sisters as we form a human prayer chain along Troost Avenue and stand in solidarity against injustice in our city.
We are a city divided by a street running from north to south,
a street that has chained us to injustice. It's a street that’s grown into a wall, a border of fear that keeps us apart.
It’s time to make our voices heard in heaven.
It’s time for the faith community in Kansas City to take a stand.
Lets's turn this place of pain into a place of prayer.
How do I
Show up anywhere along the 10 mile east sidewalk of Troost Ave at 7 PM on June 19, 2020 and PRAY for 1 hour.
PICK A SPOT : Drive down the street until you find an empty strip of sidewalk along the east side of Troost. Park legally anywhere along Troost or the side streets.
PICK A WORD : Take a piece of white tape; write your prayer in one word with a sharpie; place the word on your mask.
e.g. peace, unity, love, hope, justice, humility, heal, mercy, etc.
TAKE A STAND : Stand side by side (socially distanced - 6 feet apart) on the sidewalk to form the human prayer chain.
Please don't stand in the street, in the middle of intersections, or in front of business or home entrances. This is a peaceful call to prayer. If someone asks you to move, walk down a little (there are 10 miles of sidewalk) and pray there.
PRAY : Pray for reconciliation and restoration.
You will probably be the only person who hears your prayer, but every prayer counts and we know it will be a mighty sound in heaven. See a simple prayer guide HERE
LEARN & COMMIT : Educate yourself on the History of KC.
Keep praying for the divide to be healed; share the story of Troost and Juneteenth with others; take action against injustice; keep working toward reconciliation and restoration in Kansas City.
Sign up for information about future Pray on Troost initiatives.
Why June 19
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the U.S. Civil War had ended and the enslaved were now free.
Note: this was tragically 2 ½ years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation—which became official January 1, 1863.
A brief History of Troost
Kansas City is the 9th most racially segregated and the 5th most economically segregated city in America. Troost Avenue, a 10.7 mile street running north-south through Kansas City demarcates the segregation most starkly.
Dubbed “The Troost Wall,” the street represents a legacy of institutionalized discrimination in business and politics as well as misguided social perceptions.
The Racial Dot Map above illustrates segregation in Kansas City using different colored dots to represent clusters of 25 people. The map is based off the latest census data from 2010. Troost Avenue, marked by a red line, is easily identifiable as the line of racial segregation in the city.
The history of Troost Avenue can be traced as far back as the 1700s to the displacement of the Osage Nation whose former canoe trail is delineated by its path.In the early 1800s, the area east of Troost Avenue was populated by a 365-acre slave plantation. The slaves’ labor mainly consisted of clearing the forested areas that surrounded the plantation. The cleared area became the setting for a neighborhood known as “Millionaire’s Row.” In the late 1800s, the country experienced an economic boom followed by a crash, which prompted the construction and then under-market sale of homes on plots east of Troost.
From 1908 through the 1940s, real estate covenants and deed restrictions, a.k.a. redlining, prohibited housing sales to African Americans in neighborhoods west of Troost. Practices such as blockbusting, using fear tactics to convince homeowners to sell cheap and relocate to a different “all white” neighborhood because African Americans were moving in, created even more housing segregation in the city.
In 1955, to comply with the Brown vs. Board ruling that desegregated schools, city planners used Troost Avenue as a boundary line, perpetuating racial segregation. Even after several Supreme Court rulings in the first half of the 19th century outlawed practices such as deed restrictions, and major advances for civil rights were made in the 1950s and ‘60s, racial divisions in Kansas City remained.
Deed restrictions for certain races and ethnicities continued, and many of them are still listed on properties and neighborhood contracts today.
Economic and educational inequalities arose as a result of the devaluation of the area east of Troost by real estate giants and the manipulation of attendance boundaries by the KCMO school board, still significantly affects residents and businesses east of Troost to this day.
Building the Troost Wall took decades of intentional discrimination and injustice. Tearing it down will take intentional prayer and a relentless stand against the sin that created it: prejudice. We believe we can start the process of dismantling it with our prayer, our unity, and our action.