City Recognizes Kirkwood High Diversity Efforts
Student essayists are honored at council meeting.
Kirkwood High School juniors Emilie Willingham, Emily Goyda, Ellen Fritschle, Dajae Williams and Rachel Kibby received gift certificates from the commission in the amount of $100, $75, $75, $50 and $25 respectively.
Students were asked to write about what they saw as the long- and short-term solutions to the problems with the lack of sensitivity toward diversity in Kirkwood.
Willingham won first place for her essay that addressed the concept of "white privilege." Goyda and Fritschle tied for second, Williams received third place and Kibby received an honorable mention.
In her essay, Willingham suggests that the city hold a cultureal festival similar to the Greentree Festival to promote sensitivity toward diversity. Such an event would be the best way to educate residents in a fun setting, she says.
"We know there are tensions in Kirkwood, and we want to bridge those gaps," Darnel Frost, chair of the Human Rights Commission said.
The need to address racial tensions in Kirkwood came to the city's attention following the 2008 Kirkwood City Council shooting. Frost noted that Kirkwood's youth are a valuable resource for the city moving forward.
"We got a lot of youth with a lot of ideas," Frost said. "They're pretty bright. (The contest) was a good way to hear what they had to say."
The winning essays can be found on the Kirkwood Human Rights Commission website.
In other news, the council granted Tom and Judy Honigfort a special use permit for a Great Harvest Bread Company at 125 W. Argonne Drive. Tom recently retired from a 30-year career with AT&T and said that the restaurant is a new adventure for him and his wife. The couple aims to open the bakery in February.
Also at the meeting, council members voted against a bill that would amend the "discharge of firearms and similar weapons" section of the city's code. Mayor Arthur McDonnell asked councilors to vote against the bill, because the ordinance would require residents to receive permission from the mayor before discharging a firearm.
Additionally, language in the proposed ordinance conflicts with state statute that allows for the use of a firearm in an act of self-defense.
"I don't think it's right to give the mayor this power," McDonnell said. "There has been a lot of confusion from residents since this came up about what their rights are. I think we can write a different ordinance that would be better suited to our community."
The next meeting of the Kirkwood City Council will be held Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. The Kirkwood Human Rights Commission will meet Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.