© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Colleague Remembers Kansas City Community Activist As Mentor And Friend

Sylvia Maria Gross

Lynda Callon, longtime director of the Community Action Center in Kansas City's Westside died Sunday after a very short illness.

Callon was a fierce advocate for Latino day workers and others in the community. She pushed to create a haven where day workers could get food and clothing as they gathered under the I-35 bridge waiting for work.

Known as “the mother” and “the queen,” Callon is being remembered as a loving force for good, who had few material possessions but who worked tirelessly to make the community better for others.

Octavio“Chato”Villalobos was one of two community police officers who worked closely with Callon for many years. In an interview with KCUR, he said her common sense approach to the problems of the Westside worked. 

“She really believed the (solution to) all problems was to take care of each other,” Villalobos said. “Once we started to do that we really started to see a difference.”

Some of the men whom Callon served are organizing an altar in her memory at the CAN headquarters - inviting anyone to bring photos or flowers. An official memorial for Lynda Callon will be held this Friday at 10 a.m. at the center, followed by a pig roast and fiesta.

I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.