Established and coordinated by Johnson County Library, Race Project KC is an annual immersive social justice initiative focused on the role of racism in the history of the United States and, more specifically, the Kansas City area. It is designed for students in grades 9 through 12 in the KC metro area, and builds from the principle text Some of My Best Friends are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America by author Tanner Colby. The Project consists of a series of opportunities for students to learn Kansas City and Johnson County’s story of structural racism and how it continues to impact us today; to undergo unique experiences related to that story; to encounter experts on the topics; to learn vocabulary for talking about racism; to build relationships with peers they might not otherwise meet; and to share their own stories as they relate to the issues. This occurs through monthly events for student groups throughout the school year and an annual event with author Tanner Colby (and others) each spring.
“I wish I had had something like Race Project KC as a teen. For the individuals in this project, it will protect them from all of these racist messages that are constantly raining on their heads about what's wrong with them, students of color, or even what's right about them if they're white students. You are going to be able to learn, very early on, antiracist ideas that can protect you in ways that I was not protected as a high school student, and that's why I'm excited about this project."
~ Professor Ibram X. Kendi Bestselling author, one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2020, and RPKC Symposium 2021 keynote speaker