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Real Humans By Gina Kaufmann

KCUR's Gina Kaufmann brings you personal essays about how we're all adapting to a very different world.

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  • For the last two years, the real humans of Kansas City have given us strength. They've helped us realize that when the outlook appears grim, daring to imagine a way forward isn't fanciful or naïve.
  • Kansas City has taught me that you don’t love a city by seeing only the parts that make you comfortable. Telling stories about this place for two decades allowed me to understand its quirks, its flaws, its strengths and its heartaches.
  • Despite long wait times between buses, confusing route changes and other inconveniences, these Kansas Citians use public transit not because they have to, but because they want to. Here's why that matters.
  • Despite being designed for cars, Kansas City is home to people who rely on the bus every day. We spent a day riding along with Richard Heimer to learn what's working and what's not in our public transit system.
  • Kansas Citians stirred by horrific scenes from Ukraine are reaching out to Sofia Khan with offers to help refugees who might move here. But Khan is still trying to meet the needs of immigrants from Afghanistan, who began arriving here by the hundreds in October — without the same outpouring of support.
  • Even at the height of his professional success as an actor, playwright and venue owner, Vi Tran struggled to pause long enough to enjoy his achievements. Since the pandemic hit, he's grown clearer about what it takes to live well as an artist — and he's started to demand it.
  • Are there books that contain ideas so crucial for understanding that it's dangerous not to read them? We reached out to Kansas City's biggest book-readers and change-makers to find out what titles they'd put on such a reading list.
  • A year ago, Grupo Folklórico Izcalli consisted of a few friends dancing in a park to lift the haze of new motherhood. After an impressive first season — including a halftime show at Arrowhead Stadium — they vow to keep doing it for fun, but also to keep getting bigger.
  • Mick Ranney started selling and repairing Birkenstocks in Lawrence, Kansas, decades ago. The brand's popularity has ebbed and flowed — although its current wave of fashion cred is proving more enduring than any before. Throughout it all, Ranney has stayed a "true believer" in shoes worth fixing.
  • A Midtown "townie" priced off of her bus line. A retiree on fixed income forced out of her home of 17 years. Kansas City renters are facing substantial rent hikes, with serious repercussions.