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Vern with a pre-publication copy of the book 2021 Jan 22, The book's publication date is Feb 23.
When I came to Kansas City
in 1975, I heard about someone speaking the truth about the racial situation,
and I soon heard him speak in person. As the years passed, I came to know
Al Brooks and understand why he was so important to the community and beyond.
Alvin L. Brooks is a former Kansas City police officer, councilman, and mayor pro-tem, as well as the founder of the community organization AdHoc Group Against Crime. His decades of civil rights, violence prevention, and criminal justice advocacy led President George H. W. Bush to appoint him to the President’s National Drug Advisory Council and Governor Jay Nixon to appoint him to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners. Brooks has also worked as a business consultant, motivational speaker, and lecturer, conducting hundreds of seminars about cultural/racial diversity, religious tolerance, and civil rights. He recently was named the 2019 Kansas Citian of the Year by the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and he’s a recipient of the Harry S. Truman Award for Public Service. Brooks currently lives in Kansas City among family and friends.
In Binding Us Together, Alvin Brooks, Kansas City’s most beloved civil rights activist and public servant, shares a lifetime of stories that are heartfelt, funny, tragic, and inextricably linked to our nation’s past and present. Few people have faced adversity like Alvin Brooks. He was born into an impoverished family, nearly lost his adoptive father to the justice system of the South, and narrowly survived a health crisis in infancy. All the while, he was learning how to navigate living in a racist society. Yet by rising to these challenges, Brooks turned into a lifelong leader and a servant of his community. He shares personal anecdotes over the years about caring for his family, supporting Black youth, and experiencing historic events like the 1968 riots through his eyes. Told in a series of vignettes that follow pivotal moments in his life, Brooks’ uniquely personal yet influential story of activism and perseverance provides a hands-on guide for future generations. More relevant than ever to society today, his life’s work has been to better his community, make the world fairer for all, and diminish bias and discrimination. Alvin Brooks proves that a good heart, a generous spirit, and a lot of work can connect the world and bind us together.
Memoir update! August 3, 2020
Photos (one with Vern) and story of the 2019 Nov 26 event, click here.
From the Kansas City Business Journal, 2019 November 27:
Alvin Brooks, who has worked tirelessly for equality and against crime for decades, was honored as the 2019 Kansas Citian of the Year.
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce named Brooks as the recipient of the award Tuesday, highlighting the chamber’s annual dinner. Chamber officials expected a crowd of as many as 1,800 for the event.
Brooks, 87, was one of the first African Americans to serve in the Kansas City Police Department, starting as an officer and eventually serving on the Kansas City Police Board. He founded the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, a nonprofit that works to make Kansas City neighborhoods safer by acting as a bridge between the community and the police.
Brooks long has been a leading local civil rights leader. He directed the Kansas City Human Relations Department soon after race riots in 1968. He also has served as Kansas City’s first black assistant city manager, a City Council member (1999-2003) and unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2007. He now serves on the board of the Hickman Mills School District.
Former Mayor Kay Barnes, the 2018 Kansas Citian of the Year, presented the award to Brooks. He was mayor pro tem when Barnes was in office.
The selection of a peacemaker as Kansas Citian of the Year was a fitting close to a chamber dinner celebrating a truce in the development Border War between Missouri and Kansas. The governors of the two states were scheduled to appear at the dinner.
The annual dinner also serves as the official passing of the position of chamber chair. Carolyn Watley, vice president of community engagement for CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services, officially takes over as chairwoman on Nov. 1, succeeding JE Dunn Construction Co. CEO Gordon Lansford.
For over three years, Vern has been working with Alvin L. Brooks to edit Al's Memoir. By August 1, 2020, the manuscript at 250,000 words, seemed complete enough to pass it on for the next stage in the publication process. During this time, Al was interviewed on KCUR for an hour portrait on air. Jen Chen summarized the appearance here.
Beyond Belief Web Extra | Kansas City Icon Alvin Brooks
Brooks was named the 2017
"Outstanding Native Kansas Citian of the Year" by
The Native Sons and Daughters of Greater Kansas City.
Faith in KC: A conversation with Alvin Brooks
The Honorable Alvin Lee Brooks
Vern BarnetRELEASE FROM COPYRIGHT expressly for Wikipedia and all other uses
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Vern Barnet, Photographer
Appointed representative of the subject of the photo, the Honorable Alvin L Brooks, for this purpose
2018 August 9
Kansas City, MO
This photograph was taken at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library
ALVIN LEE BROOKS
1932 May 3 Alvin Lee Brooks
born, North Little Rock, AR
1968 May 27 Appointed first
Director of Human Relations Department, KC,
1977 AdHoc Group Against Crime formed
The Kansas City Star Magazine, August 19, 1984, page 8-28
1989 Appointed to President’s National Drug Advisory Council for three years
1999 Elected 6th District
City Council Member, made Mayor Pro Tem
The Kansas City Star, March 28, 2007
2008 Re-energized AdHoc
2013 July 12 Carol Rich Brooks dies
Brooks Day in its Resolution No. 160372
http://cityclerk.kcmo.org/LiveWeb/Documents/Document.aspx?q=ffbTlyJyJmLHh0gG%2016 Brooks honored with the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award
2018 Resigns from Police Board and joins Hickman Mills School Board
pages 19-36 for a comprehensive biographical sketch.
Brooks appears in Tanner Colby's 2012 (Penguin)