Members of Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice named

Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree Sr. is one of the members of the Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice announced today. (File photo)

Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree Sr. has been named a member of the Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice.

The names of members of the commission were announced on Wednesday by the governor.

Dupree was elected in 2016 and is the first black district attorney in Kansas. He has established a conviction integrity unit in the district attorney’s office.

The commission is tasked with studying issues of racial equity and justice in Kansas and will begin its work focusing on law enforcement-community relations, according to a spokesman.

“As governor, I am committed to ensuring this latest tragedy does not fade into the next news cycle. Communities of color do not have the luxury of time for leaders to address these issues,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “I have convened a diverse and qualified group of Kansas stakeholders, including members of law enforcement and advocacy groups, to form the Commission on Racial Equity and Justice. Their purpose is to find and present policy actions the state can take on issues of racial equity and justice in Kansas.”

The commission will study racial equity and justice in Kansas, and hold listening sessions with Kansans across the state with experience and expertise in the topic.

The commission will make recommendations to the governor, the Legislature, and local governments on concrete and immediate steps that can be taken to increase racial equity and justice in Kansas.

The commission will be co-chaired by Dr. Tiffany Anderson, superintendent of Topeka Public Schools USD 501, and Dr. Shannon Portillo, associate dean for academic affairs, University of Kansas Edwards Campus and School of Professional Studies. The remaining members of the task force:

• Secretary DeAngela Burns-Wallace, Topeka – Kansas Department of Administration
• Dr. Brandon Davis, Lawrence, assistant professor, University of Kansas
• Ernestor De La Rosa, Dodge City, assistant city manager, city of Dodge City
• David Jordan, Hutchinson, president and CEO, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund
• Dr. Anthony Lewis, Lawrence, superintendent, USD 497 Lawrence
• Mark McCormick, Johnson County, director of strategic communications, Kansas ACLU
• John Nave, Topeka, executive vice president, Kansas AFL-CIO
• Chief Gordon Ramsay, Wichita, chief of police, Wichita Police Department
• Catalina Velarde, Overland Park, attorney and adjunct professor, UMKC School of Law, Johnson County
• Jackson Winsett, assistant vice president, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri
• A representative of the Native American tribes of Kansas, to be selected by tribal leadership

“Governor Kelly’s commitment to equity for all Kansans is clear as she empowers a diverse group to bring additional voices and recommendations to the Legislature, local and state government,” co-chair Dr. Tiffany Anderson said. “The governor’s courageous step to address equity through this commission is a step that further defines Kansas as a leader and turns a moment of national unrest into a movement of progress for us all. It is a privilege as the superintendent of Topeka Public Schools to co-chair the commission with Dr. Portillo, and I look forward to listening, learning, and working with others to ensure we have more equitable systems in place, serving all Kansas families well.”

The commission will meet virtually or in-person as recommended by public health guidance. It will make its initial report to Gov. Kelly by Dec. 1, 2020.

“We are seeing a call for systemic change across the country, and I am thrilled that Governor Kelly has been clear in her response,” co-chair Dr. Shannon Portillo said. “Here in Kansas, we’re going to make real change. I’m honored to work beside the diverse group of experts the Governor has brought together, and I look forward to getting to work, holding listening sessions across our state, and making policy and practice recommendations that address inequities in Kansas.”

“This is not an issue I feel comfortable sitting on and waiting for changes to happen,” Gov. Kelly said. “We must be proactive in the way we approach these issues, as they impact the lives of Kansans every day. By focusing this commission initially on policing and law enforcement, we aim to make changes that will improve the safety of both citizens and police officers.”

See earlier story at

3 thoughts on “Members of Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice named”

  1. Kudos to Governor Kelly for recognizing the value of having Mr. Dupree as member of this Commission, unlike our Mayor, who deliberately left Mr. Dupree off of our similar task force. Mayor Alvey cited the need to ensure objectivity on the task force, despite the fact that he included the sheriff and the chief of police. Serious questions about the credibility of the task force right off the bat.

  2. Mr. Deegan, I too was pleased to see District Attorney Mark Dupree appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice. I had read the justification for Alvey choosing not to appoint D.A. Dupree to his task force in the Star, and then looked up who he had appointed, and immediately question the creditibility of the task force. Then, I question who really influenced his decision as to not include D.A. Attorney. Mayor Alvey may be questioning the intelligence of the residents of Kansas City, and believes residents will accept whatever the task force gross over, repackage and rewrite, saying the same old thing. Mr. Mayor and Co-Chair Johnson, KCK wants real changes and expect the task force to deliver.

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