NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Up To Date

Amplifying Black Women's Voices | Rapid Coronavirus Testing | Preserving Pandemic History

A roll of white toilet paper on a  wood floor with several squares unrolled and a protective mask where the paper stops
engin akyurt
A new exhibit opening in Topeka, Kansas, on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic features two obvious physical reminders — face masks and toilet paper.

A Kansas City nonprofit is working to amplify the voices and power of Black women, a wellness solutions company in Iowa sets up in Kansas City with rapid COVID-19 screenings, and a history librarian explains current efforts to gather and collect pandemic artifacts.

Segment 1, beginning at 4:13: Shirley's Kitchen Cabinet aims to use the collective power of Black women to influence public policy.

The founder of the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization discussed how it determines the issues most important to Black women, then works to affect needed change. She outlined the disproportionate negative impacts of the pandemic on Black women.

Segment 2, beginning at 29:35: Iowa company Health Gauge offers less invasive testing and quick results.

The 200,000 American deaths so far from COVID-19 remind us that the pandemic is still in full swing. Health officials continue to say more and faster testing is necessary. One Des Moines company is now offering it in Kansas City — with an $80 price tag.

Segment 3, beginning at 40:06: A roll of toilet paper and videos remembering loved ones lost are featured in a new collection.

A Kansas history librarian realized waiting until the pandemic was over was not the time to begin gathering objects to illustrate this unique time in history. She explained what has been collected so far, and what will be done to preserve the artifacts for future study and remembrance.

"A Moment in Time: Our Local Responses to a Global Crisis" will be on display from Oct. 9 to Nov. 29 in the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 SW 10th Ave., Topeka, Kansas 66604. Find more information at

Brian Ellison is a guest host of talk shows, newscasts, special coverage and community events for KCUR. Follow him on Twitter @ptsbrian.
Chris Young is an Assistant Producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact him at
Mackenzie Martin is a producer for KCUR's Up To Date, Real Humans By Gina Kaufmann, and A People's History of Kansas City. Reach out to her at or on Twitter @_macmartin.