KC Tenants is the citywide tenant union, an organization led by a multigenerational, multiracial, anti-racist base of poor and working class tenants in Kansas City. KC Tenants organizes to ensure that everyone in KC has a safe, accessible, and truly affordable home.
We believe the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution. To us, organizing is fundamentally democratic; it relies on developing tenant leaders to learn their rights, tell their own stories, and determine their own liberation.
Tiana Caldwell (she/her) is a leader and Board President with KC Tenants. See more below.
Steven Tyler (he/they) is a leader and Board Vice President with KC Tenants. He grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and moved to Missouri in 2002. He struggled with housing and work stability due to depression and anxiety disorder for several years before receiving HUD housing assistance in 2005. Steven has volunteered at organizations like The Place, Heart Ministries, and Central Library. He has been a leader with KC Tenants since the second tenant meeting.
Diane Charity (she/her) is a leader and Board Secretary with KC Tenants. She has spent 30 years giving back to her community as the former Board President for the Manheim Neighborhood Association and the Parade Park Homes Cooperative. She currently serves as the Chair for Kansas City Public Television’s Community Advisory Board. Diane has lived in Kansas City most of her life, believes deeply in the KC Tenants mission, and believes that we will win.
Ronald Clark (he/him) is a leader and Board Treasurer with KC Tenants. Born and raised in KCMO, he has lived in Kansas City’s 3rd District his whole life. After graduating from Saint Louis University in 2017 with a degree in Civil Engineering, Ron chose to return to his hometown in hopes of using his skills to better the East side, and the broader Kansas City community. Ron is currently working as a Construction Inspector on highway projects. Along with housing justice, Ron is also passionate about public works, criminal justice reform, and all things infrastructure.
Kathleen Pointer (she/her) is the Board Outreach Lead for KC Tenants. Her first KC Tenants event was the public launch on City Hall steps when she accompanied Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell as he spoke about the chaos evictions inflict on the lives of many KCPS students. On behalf of the School District, Kathleen advocated alongside KC Tenants to pass a Tenant Bill of Rights. Kathleen is the senior public policy strategist and City Hall liaison for Kansas City Public Schools. She focuses on local and statewide initiatives impacting KCPS families, including a particular focus on equity in education, housing, and economic development. In her former life, Kathleen was a journalist.
Jenay Manley (she/her) is an organizer with KC Tenants, focused on our North Star campaign to win municipal social housing. She has been housing insecure most of her life in the Northland of Kansas City. In 2019, she lost her Section 8 voucher, was unable to afford her rent and was forced to move her former abuser into her house. She knew this was a reflection of racial capitalism forcing her, yet again, to choose between her safety and rent, so she joined KC Tenants and became a core leader on the team that won a Tenants Bill of Rights in 2019. Jenay became a Black Organizing Fellow in October 2020 and joined the staff in May 2021. Jenay is mom to twins, Lilly and Avery.
Tiana Caldwell (she/her) is an organizer with KC Tenants. Along with Diane Charity and Brandy Granados, Tiana co-founded the organization while her family experienced homelessness for six months following an eviction and her second cancer diagnosis. Tiana was a core leader in the campaign to win a Tenants Bill of Rights in 2019, served as a Black Organizing Fellow, and co-led the organizing that led to KC Tenants winning Tenants’ Right to Counsel in December 2021. Tiana is a licensed nurse and a community college instructor. She is married to Derrick, and they have two sons, Steven and AJ, and two grandchildren.
Wilson Vance (she/her) is the organizing director with KC Tenants. Wilson leads KC Tenants training, coaches other organizers on the team and leaders in the base, and supports our statewide basebuilding through MO Tenants. Wilson has supported successful unionization efforts in properties across the KC metro area, and has led several successful campaigns to intervene in efforts to transfer public money to corporate developers. Previously Wilson organized healthcare and fast food workers.
Mason Andrew Kilpatrick (he/them) is an organizer with KC Tenants, focused on building our tenant union network. He joined KC Tenants as a grassroots leader in August 2019. MAK supported the development of the KC Tenants hotline and co-led the organizing that led to KC Tenants winning Tenants’ Right to Counsel in December 2021. Previously, Mason Andrew worked to support local artists through community radio stations and contemporary arts nonprofits.
Gabe Coppage (he/him) is an organizer with KC Tenants, focused on building the Midtown Tenant Union. He was born and raised in Kansas City, MO to mixed-race parents. He joined KC Tenants in the Summer of 2020, during the uprising following the police murders of Breonnna Taylor and George Floyd. Gabe was displaced by a notorious local slumlord in summer 2021. Gabe has led strategy for weekly literature drops, supported KC Tenants actions with art, and served as a Tenant Union Fellow. Previously, Gabe was a screenprinter and artist.
Brandon Henderson (he/him) is an organizing fellow with KC Tenants. A lifelong Kansas City resident, he grew up in a low-income housing complex in the Northland and saw firsthand how slumlords neglect the well-being of people in pursuit of profit. Brandon is also a solidarity caller on the KC Tenants Hotline. Previously, Brandon was a student at UMKC where he served as student body president.
Magda Werkmeister (she/they) is the hotline coordinator with KC Tenants. She leads a team of 29 KC Tenants leaders to take thousands of calls from our neighbors and refer them to critical services.
Tara Raghuveer (she/her) is the founding director of KC Tenants. She is also the Homes Guarantee Campaign Director at People’s Action. Tara is an Australian-born, Indian-American immigrant who came to the US with her family in 1995 and grew up in the Kansas City area.
Our organizing is in part based on years of research on eviction in Kansas City. Read more here.