The dangers of payday lending, gun violence are topics of RAW discussion

The dangers of payday lending and gun violence will lead the final two Wednesday night RAW speaker series at Holmeswood Baptist Church.

The dangers of payday lending  will be the topic at the June 6th RAW speakers series

By Kristin Vaughn – Petersen

Beginning Wednesday, May 30, the Holmeswood Baptist Church, 9700 Holmes Rd.,  will host their annual speaker series, RAW. The first topic Health Consequences of Your ZIP Code. The other two, Payday Lending  and Gun Violence will be the following Wednesday evenings, June 6th and 13th. All start at 6:30 p.m. at the church.

Loans with 1950% interest

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Dr. Seft Hunter

Dr. Seft Hunter, Executive Director of Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO), a faith-based organization, will be discussing payday loans at the June 6th speaker event.

Hunter has some strong opinions about these loans. “[They] prey upon single women, recently divorced women, the desperate and the vulnerable,” he says. “The Missouri state legislature says it is legally permissible to have an allowable interest rate of 1950 percent.” While this is legal, it is not “morally permissible,” he adds.  “The average interest rate on low-dollar loans in Missouri is 455 percent,” he says.”Kansas’ rate is up to 392 percent. However, Arkansas has a maximum rate of 36 percent.”

Hunter says it takes a long time to pay back a loan at this rate. “Most families renew the loan multiple times which exacerbates the situation…and the cycle of economic despair,” h says.  “Something has to happen to interrupt the cycle, such as assistance or a different job.”

Hunter points out there is a group that is shielded from such exorbitant rates: members of the military. The Military Lending Act passed in 2006, protects active duty members of the military, their spouses, and their dependents from certain lending practices. This includes a cap of 36 percent for any type of borrowing.

Where can families turn for assistance with payday loans? Hunter offers some suggestions: We Development Credit Union, a new credit union opening in Kansas City; Holy Rosary Credit Union,  and Catholic Charities Credit Union in Kansas City, KS.

UPDATE: Rev. Susan McCann, rector of Grace Episcopal in Liberty and president of the board of Communities Creating Opportunity will be filling in for Hunter, who is unable to make the meeting.


Grandparents on Gun Safety

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Judy Sherry

Judy Sherry is passionate about gun safety. She shared that passion at the 2017 Women’s March in Kansas City where she was noticed by Senior Pastor David McDaniel of Holmeswood Baptist Church. She is set to be the final speaker.

Spurred on by the school shooting at Sandy Hook, Sherry started the first chapter of Grandmothers Against Gun Violence with Susan Blaney. The first meeting was held September 2013. In 2015 they changed their name to Grandparents Against Gun Violence (GAGV).

There were 30 people at the first meeting.Today there are 260 dues paying members and over 1400 are listed in their database. About 65 members attend monthly meetings.

Sherry indicates her organization is not against guns, but they “encourage responsible gun ownership.” To that end, GAGV has distributed 600 to 700 gun locks since last July, according to Sherry. This initiative, known as the “Lock it For Love” program, distributes locks with the assistance of the Kansas City Police Department, who demonstrate proper use of the devices.

Sherry says GAGV’s purpose is to “seeks meaningful legislation regarding background checks and size of magazines.”

GAGV also organized The Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence which is a loosely organized group of 38 organizations concerned with the spread of gun violence in our culture.

This story was posted June 5, 2018, and appeared in the print edition May 29.

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