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Kansas City Fire Department Diversity | Art In Non-Fungible Tokens

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3
A year-long investigation by The Kansas City Star found a pattern of systemic racism and harassment in the Kansas City Fire Department that has been tolerated by the department for decades.

The Kansas City Fire Department is falling short when it comes to its efforts to diversify and a Kansas City filmmaker's movie is the first for sale accepting only non-fungible tokens as payment.

Segment 1, beginning at 1:00: A lack of diversity in fire departments is systemic in Kansas City and the rest of the country.

Months after a Kansas City Star investigation found evidence of discrimination at the Kansas City Fire Department, progress in diversifying it has been slow. According to the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters, a failure to increase recruitment, advancement and retention of Black firefighters can be found in firehouses throughout the country.

Segment 2, beginning at 28:07: How non-fungible tokens are allowing buyers to purchase certified originals of digital art from paintings to movies.

"Lotawana" from Kansas City filmmaker Trevor Hawkins is the first movie in history to offer shared ownership and be premiered through the cryptocurrency known as NFTs. It is part of the ongoing trend of artists, athletes, and organizations looking to cash in on the NFT movement that is providing a new way for art of all kinds to be traded digitally.

  • Trevor Hawkins, writer and director of Lotawana
  • Merav Ozair, crypto and blockchain expert and FinTech faculty member at Rutgers Business School
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, 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. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
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.
As an assistant producer on Up To Date, my goal is to amplify voices of people who serve as pioneers in their respective fields while shedding light on issues that affect underserved communities. I produce daily conversations to uplift and inspire the people of the Kansas City area to make the world a better place. You can reach me at reginalddavid@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 and reporter at KCUR Studios, 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.