© 2022 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Up To Date

Black Mothers | 'Driving While Black' Opera (R) | Aviva Okeson-Haberman Tribute

Brandon Parigo
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Aviva Okeson-Haberman joined KCUR in June 2019 as the Missouri politics and government reporter, having interned at the station a year earlier and impressed the newsroom with her work ethic, diligence, conscientiousness and eagerness to learn.

Black mothers talk about the constant fear they have for their children's safety, we bring back a conversation from 2018 and we remember KCUR reporter
Aviva Okeson-Haberman, who died Sunday.

Segment 1, beginning at 1:00: What it's like to be a Black mother amidst continued law enforcement shootings of unarmed Black men.

As Black men continue to die at the hands of law officers, Black mothers reveal the dread, the worry, and now the anger they live with every day. If either of Mará Williams' sons are late returning home, anxiety immediately sets in. "I’m wondering: Where is that boy? Did he get into a wreck?" she writes in the Kansas City Star.

Segment 2, beginning at 19:36: Using opera to examine an issue of racial bias in America.

In November 2018, the Lawrence Arts Center explored the racial issues of driving while Black with the premiere of a one-act opera chronicling the struggle of a Black mother as her son begins to drive.

Segment 3, beginning at 39:55: Remembering KCUR reporter Aviva Okeson-Haberman.

KCUR lost one of its best reporters Sunday. At the age of 24, Aviva Okeson-Haberman had already made a name for herself as a thoughtful, aggressive and compassionate reporter. She died after suffering a gunshot wound at her Kansas City apartment. "We are going to miss all of those stories she would have written," Peggy Lowe says.

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
As Up To Date’s associate producer, I construct daily conversations that give our listeners context to the issues of our time. I strive to provide a platform that holds those in power accountable, while also spotlighting the voices of Kansas City’s creatives and visionaries that may otherwise go unheard. Email me at zach@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
Whether it’s something happening right now or something that happened 100 years ago, some stories don’t fit in the short few minutes of a newscast. As a podcast producer at KCUR, I help investigate questions and local curiosities in a way that brings listeners along for adventures with plot twists and thought-provoking ideas. Sometimes there isn’t an easy answer in the end – but my hope is that we all leave with a greater understanding of the city we live in. Reach me at mackenzie@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @_macmartin.