Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City’

Violence in Ferguson didn’t have to happen August 17, 2014 No Comments

FERGUSON, MO. The Rev. Tommie Pierson was meeting in his church a week ago Saturday when, only blocks away, multiple bullets fired from a Ferguson police officer’s pistol pierced the body of Michael Brown, leaving the unarmed African-American teen dead on the street.

In This I Believe: Greetings July 28, 2014 No Comments

A cashier at a café at Johnson Country Community College (Kansas, USA), where I spend a few hours most days these days, inspired me to share something I read earlier this year by a friend of a friend. The cashier explained how some people, while they order and pay for their breakfast or lunch or snack with him, chat on their cellphones and toss debit or credit cards at him, never making eye contact or otherwise acknowledging him as a person. An essay by a friend of a friend on the importance of greetings came to mind, and I thought I’d share it. Here goes…

Living through a tragedy April 20, 2014 No Comments

Three persons lost their lives outside a Jewish Community Center in the Kansas City area one week ago, as a result of hate crimes, which we deplore. Our thoughts go out to their loved ones. The article below, from the Johnson Country Community College newspaper by a young journalist that found himself at the Center near the time of the tragedy, attests to hope and humanity, and the power of youth.

The art of provocation: Kansas City artist A. Bitterman takes a fresh look at old problems March 17, 2014 No Comments

Lately, Bitterman has been spending a lot of time thinking about Troost Avenue [in Kansas City] and all the failed efforts to overcome the inequities of black and white, east and west. “We see Troost as a problem, but it’s a symptom of a problem,” he said. He asked himself, What if the city was segregated, but it was me? That question is the basis for a film in progress, “Half Life.” As he writes in his synopsis: “Haunted by a city that seems permanently divided, the artist wakes up on a bus to find himself transformed — half black, half white — a personification of the city itself. An existential crisis unfolds.”

Turn the Page reading initiative gets national recognition January 31, 2014 No Comments

Turn the Page KC, an effort to improve third-grade reading proficiency in Kansas City schools, has received some national recognition.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has named Turn the Page one of its “35 Pacesetters for 2013.”

Top black students go unnoticed June 29, 2013 No Comments

Books and magazines tell tragic stories of black men incarcerated in such alarming numbers that some critics have challenged and speculated about the intent of America’s criminal justice system. The challenges are frequently accompanied by dismal statistics documenting low reading achievement usually leads to high drop-out rates and speculation that the deck of opportunity is stacked against black men. It’s especially difficult for those raised in single parent homes that battle the burdens of poverty. [...]

Eighty KC buildings will go solar in ambitious city effort May 28, 2013 No Comments

Kansas City, turning toward the sun, has signed a deal to install solar panels and equipment on 80 city buildings to meet part of their demand for electricity. Brightergy, a Kansas City solar installer, and Kansas City Power & Light will team up on the project, expected to be completed by the end of the [...]

First Kauffman Scholars prepare to graduate May 20, 2013 1 Comment

The middle of Cristina Ortiz’s sophomore year, it hit her. Despair? Or maybe fear? Certainly a crisis of confidence. I can’t be an engineer. “I reached a point where I stopped believing in myself,” she said. Many other students like her in the first class of Kauffman Scholars — students from low-income households, many trying [...]

We’ve come a long way, but there’s a long way to go No Comments

Julia Hill didn’t have to think long about what the next 50 years might hold for civil rights in America. “I’ll be gone,” she said, when I questioned her. “But I’m going to pray for you.” The audience at the Plaza branch of the Kansas City Public Library laughed. The group had gathered to honor [...]

The new economy is at odds with family values May 15, 2013 No Comments

My mother went into paid work soon after my father’s clothing store was flooded out in a hurricane, almost wiping him out. She had no choice. We needed the money. This was some two decades before a tidal wave of wives and mothers went into paid work. For the relatively few women with four-year college [...]