diversity | KCUR

diversity

Segment 1: Kansas City's journey toward greater inclusivity takes one step forward, two steps back.

The state of diversity and inclusion in Kansas City is shaping up to be one of this year's most tenuous storylines. We previewed both positive and negative issues facing marginalized communities in the metro, including diversity training for law enforcement and seemingly discriminatory legislative efforts.

Segment 1: A new kind of Women's March in Kansas City aims to include more diverse voices.

Segment 1: Test scores for Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools improved last year.

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools saw last year's test scores jump at least four percentage points from the 2017-18 school year. Today, the superintendent explains his strategies for continued success, and details the work still left to do.

Segment 1: How to make greeting cards more diverse.

Cards are about relationships. So if none of the greeting cards on the shelf represent the person you're reaching out to, or the occasion you're celebrating, it won't feel quite right. Though recent decisions by Hallmark caused controversy, a few months ago they were making moves to make more communities feel "seen" in the greeting card aisle.

Segment 1: The woman who coined 'white fragility' unpacks the meaning of the term.

Robin DiAngelo first started noticing what she now calls 'white fragility' about twenty years ago, when she worked alongside people of color as a diversity trainer. The resulting research culminated in a book that's been a New York Times Bestseller for more than a year. It's also elicited death threats.

Photo illustration by Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Across the metro, Kansas City schools are serving more students of color, especially Latinos, but that diversity isn’t reflected on school boards.

Without representation, students of color can feel like no one’s looking out for their interests.

Segment 1: Making greeting cards more diverse.

Cards are about relationships. So if none of the greeting cards on the shelf represent the person you're reaching out to, or the occasion you're celebrating, it won't feel quite right. Hallmark's trying to make more communities feel "seen" in the greeting card aisle.

  • Monic Houpe, product director, Hallmark
  • Christy Moreno, editorial director, Hallmark

Segment 2: Why Kansas and Missouri astronomers are fighting to save dark skies.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Angela Boykin watched her cousin die from cancer in 2016. Loretta — or Lo, as everyone called her — suffered through significant pain. So when Missouri voters passed the medical marijuana law in November, she wanted in on opening a dispensary in Kansas City. 

Missouri starts officially accepting applications for medical marijuana businesses Saturday, and it’s a potentially lucrative business: A cannabis data research company estimates that by 2025, Missouri could see $111 million in medical marijuana sales yearly. 

But Boykin and other applicants are black, and even though Missouri by law can’t factor in race or gender when awarding licenses, the national trend is that pot business owners and founders are overwhelmingly white. 

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Growing up in Kansas City, Harvey Williams lived near 12th Street and Vine in what used to be called the Wayne Minor Projects.

"It was the heart of the city, the heat of the city, especially for black people," he says.

But it was in the United States Army, as the Vietnam War was winding down, that he learned about diversity.

Portrait Session: Harvey Williams

Jul 19, 2019

Harvey Williams is the founder of a black-owned theater in Kansas City; he sees that as an important addition to the arts ecosystem here in town. In this intimate conversation, Williams tells his own story, which begins at 12th and Vine, and explains why despite all the major iconic roles he's played on Kansas City stages, it matters enough to him carve out a space for diverse voices that he's doing it in his retirement years, when he could be "sitting on the porch, watching the mailman run up and down the street."

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

During a week when President Donald Trump continued attacks on four members of Congress after tweeting that they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came," people of color in Kansas City are reacting with anger, frustration and sadness.

One emotion that's less common is surprise.

Eric Borden

A construction worker from Drexel, Missouri, is using poetry to positively affect the perception of blue-collar trades.

Eric Borden's poem "Ditch Diggers" is up front about the negative perception he’s battling:

You say the world needs ditch diggers,
that statement's true enough.
But if you're saying it because you think you're better than us,
then with you've I've got a grudge.

Segment 1: Race Project KC is educating high school students on structural racism in Kansas City.

Built off of Tanner Colby's book "Some of My Best Friends Are Black," Johnson County Library takes students on a bus tour to provide lessons on the ways that segregration is ingrained in the foundation of the city. Shawnee Mission East student Oliver Henry said the tour helped her better understand the lack of diversity at her school. 

Segment 1: Getting more women in the male-dominated world of sports management and media. 

Women have made great advances as coaches, managers, and sportscasters, but still rarely hold the same top spots as their male counterparts. So what would it take to get more women involved? We ask a panel of sports journalists what is needed to give women a better opportunity to secure some these coveted positions.

'Strangers in Town'

A place expecting an influx of refugees has a choice to make: throw up barricades or throw open its arms. A new documentary called "Strangers in Town" shows what happened when Garden City, Kansas, chose the latter.

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University

Segment 1: Municipal lawmakers from both sides of the state line discuss the hurdles facing their cities.

Sharice Davids campaign

Segment 1: Women have made strides as candidates, but are still looking to break through as campaign managers and advisors. 

Some have called 2018 another "Year of the Woman" in politics — but not everyone. A record number of women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, but many had to fight to be taken seriously as candidates. Today we discussed the accomplishments and future goals for women in politics.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Paging all adjuncts

Some five dozen University of Kansas professors and librarians decided to take up the school on its buyout offer. KU is looking to cut its faculty ranks, particularly instructors who weigh down the school’s payroll most heavily.

Stephen Koranda reports that about a fourth of the faculty eligible for the voluntary early retirement offer took the deal.

Big Stock

After more than half a year of back and forth, Kansas City councilmembers approved increasing the city’s goals for hiring minority- and women-owned businesses.

The MBE/WBE (minority-owned business enterprise and women-owned business enterprise) program sets goals and guidelines for hiring small, minority- or women-owned firms on city projects or projects receiving tax abatements. It’s an effort to make sure that the workforce on city projects better reflects the city’s demographics.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Who built it?

Steve Watkins emerged on the Kansas political scene this year as a relative unknown, but with a resume that political consultants could work with. West Point. Army Ranger. Combat patrols on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Mountain climber. Degrees from MIT and Harvard. Started his own business and grew it to nearly 500 employees.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Parents whose kids attend Lee’s Summit schools are growing increasingly frustrated with the school board and superintendent as tensions escalate over issues of equity and race.

It was standing room only Tuesday night as parents demanded the Board of Education justify the need for professional development from a particular diversity consultant.

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

In the new young adult novel “A Blade So Black,” the main character, Alice, doesn't have long blonde hair, and the other side of the looking glass isn't a place full of innocently quirky tea parties.

Latrice "Elle" McKinney, a Kansas resident who writes under the name L. L. McKinney, has created a  fantasy world full of adventure and imagination but infused with real-world issues and black girl magic.

Then-state Sen. Mike Kehoe stands on the Missouri Senate chamber floor of the General Assembly.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Segment 1: Missourians will vote on the first gas-tax increase in 24 years. 

Integration Of Schools

Sep 20, 2018

Almost 65 years after the landmark ruling of Brown v. Board of Education that desegragated public schools, research suggests U.S. schools are resegregating and, in some places, are more segregated than ever. On this episode, we dive into a discussion about how much of a priority integration plays in Kansas City metro schools.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: New Shawnee Mission schools superintendent on his plans for the district. 

Kansas is on its way to becoming a majority-minority state, with white residents expected to make up less than half of the population by 2066.

A new report from the Kansas Health Institute shows that the state is quickly becoming older, more urban and more diverse.

Starbucks stores across the country will be closed on Tuesday afternoon. The company announced it would use the half day to “conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores.”

Starbucks announced the move in April after video of police arresting two black men at a Philadelphia location went viral. An employee had called police because the men, who were waiting for someone, had not ordered anything and were refusing to leave. One of the pair had asked to the use the restroom.

Segment 1: What does diversity in the workplace look like today?

When people talk about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, it's usually from the standpoint of the employer. But what about the employee perspective? And for local professionals of color, how does it translate to the day-to-day realities of going to work?

Tony Vinh

Life in the Midwest might not seem to be particularly rich material for a comedian based in Los Angeles.

But for Tony Vinh, it’s his niche.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A day-long event Sunday at Kansas City’s Union Station helped launch “All of Us,” a new nationwide research initiative from the National Institutes of Health.

The program’s goal is to collect genetic data from one million people from a wide variety of races, ethnicities and backgrounds.

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