High Resolution: Kansas Citians plan for 2022

Illustration By Meg Wagler

Two years. We are now two years beyond the precedented times, and at this point, we can only hope that COVID will conclude as a trilogy.  

If anything, 2021 reflected just how much Kansas Citians need each other. It proved how our collective efforts can improve the quality of life for everyone if enough of us simply resolve to commit ourselves to something greater than any one person.

Demonstrations by KC Tenants; unhoused people banding together and protesting the city’s lack of meaningful action by setting up protest camps; a spike in violent crime; and a tumultuous relationship between the community, police department, and city officials showed that Kansas City cliffhangers. 

For our first issue of 2022, we asked a variety of Kansas Citians to tell us what their New Year’s resolutions were for next year, and the responses we got are as diverse as our city itself. 

As we welcome the new year, consider some of these responses and the causes they promote. For everyone listed here, there are probably dozens more that are just as worthy of your attention and efforts.

Here’s to Kansas City becoming an even better place to live in 2022. 

Tyreek Hill – WR, Kansas City Chiefs:

“Through my foundation, the Tyreek Hill Family Foundation, I want to bring more awareness to youth mental health and try to provide the correct resources in 2022. Mental health is really important to me. Being a father of four, I can relate to it a lot more now. Five years ago, I was in a different stage of my life. Now, I am situated in the league and more mature. My foundation supports youth mental health because it gets ignored so many times and I’ve seen it. In 2022, I want kids to know it’s okay to ask for help.”

Jeff Bentley – Executive Director, Kansas City Ballet:

“[My hope is that] this scourge of a pandemic will recede to a point where our dancers can return fully to their art form, and all audiences can once again gather together in a communion of shared artistic experience. We reach such a goal through a united effort fueled by care and empathy for our fellow citizens which informs the actions we take, the paths we choose, the selfless decisions we make.”

Jackie Nguyen – Owner, Cafe Cà Phê:

“I have three resolutions: open Cafe Cà Phê’s first brick and mortar; launch a real community center for Asians in Kansas City; and to stay authentic; give it 150%, get this bread, and SLAY THE GAME HONEYYYYY.

“Kansas City has the heart to truly be an example to other cities in the states by its continued efforts to support small businesses. If we keep up this momentum, we cannot only be known for the Chiefs, BBQ, or fountains but for things like, ‘Dang, that city really supports their community!’ I believe if we keep having open, honest, judgment-free conversations, shop small, and keep it real, our city will thrive.”

Kate Corwin – Founder, Greenworks KC:

“My hope for 2022 is that Kansas City residents will understand that every single thing we have comes from the natural world, that we are using too many resources, and that we can live well with significantly [fewer] material goods.

“We can mend and fix items we already have to extend their useful life. We can borrow and rent items rather than buying our own. When we are finished with something, we can donate it responsibly so it continues providing value.

“We can drink tap water instead of bottled water and stop wasting food. We can decline single-use bags and all those ‘free gift with purchase’ items. When we do really need something, we can try to find a used version. My hope is that in 2022 we will raise our awareness of the many resources we use every day and begin to break the habit of mindless, automatic over-consumption.”

Illustration By Meg Wagler

Steve Kraske – Host, KCUR’s Up To Date:

“This is an easy one. My hope for Kansas City in 2022 is that we finally get a handle on our homicide crisis. And what an opportunity we have to move in that direction with the retirement/firing of Police Chief Rick Smith. Listen, the Police Department can’t be expected to singlehandedly shrink the number of murders. The problem is way too complicated for that.

“But the department can be expected to try new strategies that might begin to chip away at the problem. We’ve been status quo for way too long. Investing more heavily in violence ‘interrupters’ that seek to resolve disputes before they erupt in gunplay is one approach worth looking at again. The other immediate advantage of a new chief is the chance to restart the conversation with the Black community and rebuild trust that vanished years ago.

“This is a huge opportunity, and we plan to follow it closely on KCUR’s Up To Date and encourage the public to engage. The Board of Police Commissioners that will choose the new chief must be open to an unconventional pick from outside the department. It’s time to shake things up. Either that or risk seeing Kansas City’s reputation sour as it becomes known as the murder capital of mid-America.”

Quinton Lucas – Mayor, Kansas City, Missouri:

“In 2022, my administration will remain focused on the most important issue to the health, safety and success of our city: preventing violent crime and saving lives. And with a once-in-a-generation federal infrastructure investment opportunity, I will work closely with my colleagues, our neighborhoods, community organizations, local businesses, and the Administration to ensure Kansas City leverages these funds to create transformative change—including ensuring all Kansas City families have access to clean drinking water and high-speed broadband.

“I look forward to a productive and fruitful 2022 in Kansas City.”

Chelsea M. – Founder, KC Black Owned:

“My hopes and dreams for KC Black Owned is that we will be able to connect consumers with business owners in our communities. My dream is that everyone in the KCMO and surrounding areas are aware of our directory. 

“Getting the word out about our businesses are essential to our overall development and impact in the community. It is also a hope that more Black-owned businesses (whether they are starting out or well established) connect with us and join the directory. Support our efforts at kcblackowned.org].”

Isaiah, Dee, and Solomon Radke – Radkey:

“We want to start the next year with a lot more time in the studio and in pre-production at home, in the downtime between touring. At this point in our career, it’s all about crafting the biggest Radkey songs possible for the new record. And that’s been taking a lot of experimentation, which has been really fun.

“We’ve been a lot harder on ourselves when it comes to getting out there with what we really need, and it’s important that we start the next batch of live shows with some fresh material. Coming off of the Foo Fighters tour and recording ‘I’ll Stick Around’ for their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction had us feeling inspired and ready to hit this next year hard.

“We’ve got a bunch of ideas for new music videos and some great shows coming up. Things are going harder than they’ve ever been for us, and we’re planning on taking full advantage of that in this coming year. Keep an eye out for Radkey. We’re comin’!”

Meredith Walrafen – Program Manager, New Roots for Refugees:

“We’ve seen the constraints of a global system this year, and also the power of a local economy. Our resolution is to keep more money in our local community, especially when buying food. With over 40 farmers’ markets in the KC metro and tons of farmers offering online ordering with public-pickups, it’s incredibly convenient to buy from local farmers. 

“Also, ask your favorite restaurants and grocery stores where they get their produce and encourage them to buy local. Let’s let this year’s challenges lead to a shift in our shopping that isn’t just a fad, but a long-term change that supports hard-working, small businesses in our communities.”

Illustration By Meg Wagler

Eric Rogers – Executive Director, BikeWalkKC:

“My 2022 New Year’s resolution for Kansas City is to reduce to zero the number of people hit and killed by drivers. We have lost too many people to car violence. It is a public health emergency, and one that disproportionately impacts Black, Brown, and indigenous individuals.

“In 2020, KCMO City Council passed a Vision Zero resolution to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries on our streets by 2030, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for everyone. A resolution is great, but action is what’s needed to save lives.

“We need to integrate Vision Zero practices at all levels of planning, design, and engineering.  For 2022, BikeWalkKC will push the City Council to implement a comprehensive, multi-year Vision Zero Action Plan, but we need the voices and stories of KCMO residents to help make it happen. Help us advocate for a transportation system that is safer for people who walk, bike, or use assistive technology for mobility. I invite you to email the BikeWalkKC policy team at [policy@bikewalkkc.org]. Let them know you want to help make the Vision Zero Action Plan a reality in 2022.”

Steven Tulipana – Co-Owner, recordBar:  

“I hope KC will continue to be the progressive city that it is by supporting its local culture and community. We seem to be growing by leaps and bounds. There is nothing wrong with welcoming the new to town but the best way to make it grow in a healthy way is to continue to support local small businesses and artists. This has always been recordBar’s mission. 

“There are numerous artist organizations that we support and we urge everyone else to do as well, from Midwest Music Foundation to Art As Mentorship. Become a supporting member to one or all of our local stations, 90.1, 90.9 or 89.9. Subscribe to The Pitch! These are ways we can all grow and better our community and recordBar commits to continuing these efforts.”

Branden Haralson – Senior Manager, ArtsKC:

“Our arts community has come through these tough and uncertain times a little scarred and a little bruised, but ArtsKC is committed to creating and securing the resources that will mend our wounds, and take us from healing to thriving once again. We know that through collective action, community and leadership support, and using our platform to enhance artists and organizations of every size, shape, medium, and background, ArtsKC can help mitigate the struggles of the past two years and usher our community into a new era of prosperity and renaissance, in 2022 and beyond.”

Brenda Mott – Founder, ScrapsKC:

“The Scraps staff is looking forward to getting the word out about our Terracycle Program. We have special bins in our store to accept hard-to-recycle items like razors, phone cases, and toothpaste tubes. We send the collected items to Terracycle and they provide a small financial contribution to ScrapsKC. The KC community can join us in these efforts by visiting our website [https://scrapskc.org/terracycle/] to identify the items we accept and then depositing them in our Terracycle bins. And, of course, we look forward to the community donating their unwanted creative supplies or visiting ScrapsKC to purchase second-hand supplies for their next creative project! Cheers to a new year, Kansas City!”

Kiona Sinks – Community Engagement, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum:

“Kansas City has been at the helm of innovation since the beginning. It’s no different today when I think about the story of the Negro Leagues and the great Negro Leagues Baseball Museum here in Kansas City. Since 1990, we’ve been cultivating and amplifying America’s pastime, and now here we are heading into calendar year 2022 with Buck O’Neil elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame—which is the springboard propelling the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum into 2022 for what potentially will be the most important year in recent museum history. 

“Next year marks the 75th Anniversary of Major League Baseball’s breaking of the color barrier. The catalyst of social progress in this country began when Jackie Robinson was handpicked from our very own Kansas City Monarchs, becoming the chosen one to start the movement for social progress in this country. Kansas City is a representation of so much more than what we ever can imagine today. Our history constantly reminds of the great legacy of those who made the community we love today.”

Hartzell Gray – Host, The KC Morning Show:

“While the bar may be set incredibly low, I want 2022 to be the story of ‘us.’ I wanna be someone who does dope shit with dope folks, and I happen to think there’s no better place to do that than right here in Kansas City. We’re still here. Let’s lean into that this year. In the midst of this Panini, you powered through. You’re finding a way. There’s no such thing as a ‘new normal,’ so let’s send that idea to the sun. This is a new book, baby, and in 2022, I can’t wait to help write it with you, Kansas City.” 

Categories: Culture