Reps. Davids and Cleaver Demand Information on Allegations of Discrimination at KCVA
Today, United States Representatives Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) demanded documentation from the Kansas City Veterans Administration (KCVA) Medical Center following allegations of a pattern of discrimination against Black employees and veterans at the facility. Specifically, the Members of Congress are calling for all documented complaints and how they were handled going back ten years, as well as all information on applicant scoring protocols and the altering of scores to eliminate minority candidates in particular.
In a letter to KCVA Director David Isaacks, the lawmakers wrote:
“Over the past several months, employees have raised concerns that have formed a pattern we simply cannot ignore. Our offices have brought some to your attention over the last few months through formal inquiries, but many more employees have been affected and it’s on behalf of all of them and the veterans they serve that we write you today.”
According to recent reports to both congressional offices, African American employees were asked by management to take part in a “living museum” in which they portray historic figures, including former slaves and “rappers,” to celebrate Juneteenth. It was also noted that an Associate Director on a staff conference call proposed ordering friend chicken and watermelon as catering for the event. To make matters worse, when staff have the courage to report wrongdoing within the facility, they face retaliation rather than the wrongdoer being held accountable.
“The disturbing reports our offices have received from Black employees and veterans at the Kansas City VA are unacceptable,” said Congressman Cleaver. “No American veteran and at no work place in this country in the year 2020 should an employee be discriminated against for the color of their skin or retaliated against for standing up to this dehumanizing behavior. It’s important that the leadership at the facility take the steps needed to root out this kind of conduct, and that starts with being transparent and turning over documented complaints.”
“The Kansas City VA is an essential resource for thousands of veterans across Kansas and Missouri, and it should be a place where they can receive medical care and services without fear of discrimination. The same is true for KCVA employees, whose work to care for our nation’s heroes is essential, especially during the COVID pandemic. I’ve been extremely concerned to hear about discriminatory practices towards employees and veterans at the KCVA. They must be transparent and release information about these complaints right away,” said Rep. Davids.
You can find the official letter from Reps. Cleaver and Davids to KCVA Director Isaacks here.