Melesa Johnson

Professional Honors

  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly Up & Coming Award, 2017
  • Missouri Bar Association’s Tim Cochran Award for Community Service, 2017
  • Missouri Bar Leadership Academy, 2017
  • Ink Magazine 30 Under 30, 2017 (inaugural class)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • The Missouri Bar
  • The Jackson County Bar Association
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 
  • Kansas City Missouri Bar Association 

Education

  • University of Missouri School of Law, J.D.
  • Law Review — Associate Editor
    • Columbia University, B.A. Political Science with pre-law specialization

    Dedicating my career to public safety is about much more than a profession, it is a way of life . I was raised and still reside in one of the most dangerous parts of Jackson County – a sector that once housed close knit communities, thriving children, and hopeful residents but is now being destroyed by a callous and reckless devaluation of human life. I’ve seen the devastation violent crime can cause, regularly fall asleep to the sound of gunshots, and have even lost some childhood friends. These experiences solidified a life-long desire to see change in areas that have often felt forgotten. 

    In 2014,  I  joined the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office to strive for balance between justice for victims and opportunities of transformation for offenders – an exercise I have coined “transformative justice.” During my tenure as an Assistant Prosecutor, I tried several jury trials and even received the honor of office-wide Rookie of the Year from Jean Peters-Baker. I remain steadfast in my pursuit of transformative justice as Mayor Lucas’ Director of Public Safety, where I manage high-priority policy issues and strategic planning in the areas of violence prevention and intervention. I oversee Partners for Peace, a city-wide violence intervention strategy involving KCPD, Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, Jackson County COMBAT, and dozens of community based service provider organizations designed to provide victims of non-fatal shootings and active crime drivers restorative assistance, changing lives. I also spearhead Kansas City’s Multidisciplinary Public Safety Task Force composed of representatives from every City Department to address environmental factors that contribute to crime. Working closely and collaboratively with KCPD, the community, and elected officials has been beyond fulfilling – but I know we have so much further to go. 

    Community activism is not luxury, instead it is the price we pay for our time here on earth. That’s why I’ve served on on several boards including the the KIPP Academy School Board (present), Englewood Arts Board (present), Youth Guidance Advisory Council (present), Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City Emerging Leaders Council (2016-2022), Jackson County Bar Association Executive Board (2014-2022), Kansas City’s Municipal Liquor Control Review Board (2016-2018), and the EITAS Developmental Disability Services of Jackson County Board (2015-2016). I’ve been recognized for my efforts by the Missouri Bar Association with the Tim Cochran Award for Community Service, Missouri Lawyers Weekly with the Up & Coming Award, and induction into Ink Magazine’s 2017 30 Under 30 Inaugural Class. Notably, I served on the Jackson County Community Backed Anti-Crime Tax (COMBAT) Commission for four years, which gave me an in-depth understanding of the grant program which is overseen by the elected Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office. 

    Many people ask me “why do I stay?” I stay in the community because I stand with the seniors who have owned their homes for decades, but are now afraid to go outside. I stand with the matriarchs and patriarchs doing everything in their power to keep their loved ones on a productive path. I stand with the former justice involved individuals who paid their debts to society and now leverage their journey to positively influence others. I stay to remain close to the problems so that I can be a solution. Specifically, I want to be your next Jackson County Prosecutor. If you believe in the promise of what we can be, are tired of who we’ve become, and value justice that is both responsive to victims’ loss and encourages rehabilitation, I humbly seek your vote for a safer and more equitable County for all.

    As potentially the first Black person in this role, I am committed to standing alongside those who need a voice and a solution. I stand with our seniors, matriarchs, and patriarchs who deserve safety, with former justice-involved individuals striving for a brighter future, and with all residents who seek a more peaceful Jackson County.

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    Mission & Values

    Inspired to Serve for Safer Communities

    Growing up and residing within the boundaries of Jackson County, my passion for a safer community is deeply personal. The experiences of my upbringing have fueled my determination to bring about positive change as your next Jackson County Prosecutor.

    A Leader in Community Engagement

    My involvement on various boards, from the KIPP Academy School Board to the Boys and Girls Club Emerging Leaders Council, reflects my longstanding dedication to our community’s growth. Recognition by esteemed organizations such as the Missouri Bar Association and Missouri Lawyers Weekly further underscores my commitment.

    A Path to a Better Future

    I’ve chosen to remain close to the challenges to be a driving force for change. I seek to bring fair accountability for all, responsiveness to victims’ loss, and rehabilitation to our justice system. I ask for your vote to create a safer, more just, and equitable County for all. Vote for a Safer and More Equitable Jackson County. Vote Melesa Johnson for Prosecutor.

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