Sameemah (Pearl Davis) inspired Justice for Wyandotte to push for the unit that solved her murder...
Pearl S. Davis was 41 years old when she was found murdered on November 22, 1996, in a vacant house on the 700 block of Lafayette Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.
I knew Pearl and her two beautiful daughters when I was a member of Kansas City’s Islamic community. We knew her as Sameemah Musawwir. Her murder devastated our entire community and has stayed with me over the decades. Over the years, I reviewed documents about Sameemah’s case. Her autopsy revealed she had been sexually assaulted, stabbed over thirty times, had multiple bruises all over her body, and the suspect had left their DNA at the
crime scene. Even though the details of her violent death burned in our memories, her case went cold.
Twenty years later, I was surprised to come across Sameemah’s name again. In the decades since her slaying, I fought to bring awareness to, and justice for, the several women whose murders have been unsolved in KCK. Some of these women were allegedly sexually assaulted; some were rumored to have been murdered by the corrupt former KCKPD detective Roger Golubski, who policed the area.
The experience of watching Golubski’s victims’ pleas for justice be ignored for
so long inspired me to work with community to organize rallies and demonstrations so that these unsolved cases - the women, their faces, and their stories, would not be forgotten.
I became inspired to partner with women of like mind, starting a nonprofit called Justice for Wyandotte. In my work with Justice for Wyandotte, I had an introductory meeting with Karl Oakman, then a candidate for Chief of Police in KCK. I discussed the apparent and unacceptable apathy towards the unsolved homicides in our community and expressed their lingering impact on KCK families and loved ones. During the meeting I strongly encouraged him to establish a cold case unit in the KCK Police Department.
After meeting with Oakman, Justice for Wyandotte started an awareness campaign and petition for a dedicated cold case unit in the KCKPD to address the hundreds of unsolved homicides that have occurred in KCK since 1965.
Sameemah’s was one of many cases we highlighted. In January 2022, Chief Oakman announced the launch of an official cold case unit for the department. In the short time since the unit was created, we are very pleased to learn Sameemah’s case is now solved.
Justice for Wyandotte exists to empower people overlooked or underserved by the governing systems and institutions of KCK. Our advocacy for families impacted by Golubski, and my own experience with Sameemah’s case, help fuel our ongoing dedication to provide resources, access to therapy, and offer support in their journey for truth, justice, and healing.
As I reflect on our work at Justice for Wyandotte and the lives we have touched through our work in the community, it inspires hope for a system I have seen fail so many times.
Personally, I am happy to see justice being served and deeply appreciate all who worked on getting answers for Sameemah’s family. I continue to be proud of my work with Justice for Wyandotte; and I am grateful for the community organizers, local and state officials, churches, and numerous friends for standing with Justice for Wyandotte to be a voice for the voiceless.
During these times I reflect on the late Alvin Sykes, a true social justice warrior and my mentor. He had a saying to perpetrators of murder in our community, “there is no statute of limitation for your crime, and we will hunt you down and find you, even on your deathbed.” Let it be known, I am committed to continuing the work of Alvin Sykes.
I am Khadijah Hardaway
Co-founder and Lead Organizer
Justice for Wyandotte
You can learn more about Justice for Wyandotte by visiting us at
www.justiceforwyandotte.org and following us on Facebook.