FOR WICHITA’S YOUNG, DIVERSE AND TALENTED
VOL. 2 ISSUE 1 | OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015 www.ictup.org
AMPLIFYING OUR VOICE
PLATFORMS AND OUTLETS DEDICATED TO DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES
CHRISTINA M. LONG, OWNER/PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT
E U Q B R A B ’S
R E S L N A L MI OUS BAKED BE FAM
Flavors: Beans with Beef Bold & Spicy
From POTLUCKS to TAILGATES, Fall’s OFFICIAL side dish Available at Dillons and Kroger stores
s a former journalist, I’ve seen, firsthand, how powerful the media is. Controlling the narrative brings about the ability to control perception which, subsequently, can create a false sense of reality. It’s no secret that certain media outlets push a particular type of messaging on the public while being silent on topics involving underrepresented communities. Look historically at traditional news outlets nationally and locally and find a lack of diversity shapes stories, reports stories and determines what’s even worthy of becoming stories. In this coverage vacuum, music became a primary outlet for storytelling. In the mid- to late 1980s, rap music transformed from a party-centric focus fueled by artists such as Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa to a more gritty, frustrated medium led by artists like Public Enemy and N.W.A. Both groups, in their own way, were frustrated with what was happening in their environments and decided to be a voice to those who shared similar frustrations. Social media now joins music as go-to outlets for the expression of ideas that mainstream media notoriously suppresses. Social media has allowed those without a press pass to establish themselves as columnists and opinion writers. Most importantly, it has become a megaphone for communities often left voiceless on key issues.
Social media has become the breeding ground for a “why not us” spirit. This spirit can be seen even in Wichita. Urban Magnate is a by-product of that; individuals wanting to tell stories they feel are important; stories that are too important to wait for other outlets to find the time or use to simply fill dead space. In this issue, you’ll read about individuals who are finding alternative outlets to hare stories of difference. You’ll read about Bonita Gooch’s “ineffable” dream taking her newspaper statewide, and Ti’Juana Hardwell’s platform for the local underground artist and celebrity. You’ll read Danilo Balladares’ responses to the media void on a video that scored more than 25,000 views related to the City of Wichita’s search for a police chief. You’ll hear more from me and Danielle Johnson on how we’re working to continue cultivating the young, diverse and talented through Wichita Urban Professionals. You’ll also learn about the newest social media campaign that has everyone talking about loving Wichita. There is a new chapter being written about Wichita. What role will you play in that? Will you be a co-writer, a character or a casual reader about what happens? The choice is yours; choose wisely. -- J. Long
Jonathan Long, President Wichita Urban Professionals
URBAN MAGNATE • 5
ON THE SCENE
Dell Gines’ Presentation • 6 North End Urban Arts Festival
Kansas Hispanic Education & Development Foundation • 8 Kansas African-American Museum • 9
ICT-UP LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT Jonathan Long • 10 Danielle Johnson • 11
Amplifying our Voices • 12 “The Community Voice” • 13 #ILoveWichita • 14 Djuan Wash & his Letter to the Editor • 15 Danilo Balladares & Social Media • 16 Mamarazzi Entertainment Magazine • 17
Dreamchasers • 18-23
SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Heartland Home Inspection Co., LLC • 24-25
Kansas Leadership Center • 26 Urban League of Kansas • 28
URBAN MAGNATE Wichita Urban Professionals (ICT-UP) exists to develop a network of rising leaders to improve the quality of life in the urban communities of Wichita. Urban Magnate is the premier publication of Wichita Urban Professionals covering events and issues of interest to the city’s young, diverse and talented. This bi-monthly publication is available in electronic and hardcopy formats. Hardcopy editions are strategically distributed to ICT-UP members and city, civic and business organizations. Subscriptions are available for $30 annually. Checks may be made payable to the Urban League of Kansas c/o Wichita Urban Professionals’ Urban Magnate, 2418 E. Ninth Street, Wichita, KS 67214. Limited ad space is available for purchase. Contact email@example.com or call 316-371-8145 for ad inquiries.
Urban Magnate Contributors
Christina M. Long of CML Collective, LLC oversees the majority of reporting, writing, editing, layout and design of this publication in partnership with ICT-UP.
Jonathan Long, Contributing Writer/Reporter Michael E. Woods, Contributing Photographer David D. Wallace, Jr., Contributing Photographer
On the front cover: Jonathan Long and Danielle Johnson. Photo credit: Photography by Michael E. Woods, LLC On the back cover: Jonathan Long and Dell Gines. Photo credit: Christina M. Long
URBAN MAGNATE • 6
URBAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ROUNDTABLE FOCUSES ON AFRICAN-AMERICAN ENTREPRENEURS
Story and photo by Christina M. Long
e gave a sobering – yet compelling – examination of the state of Black businesses, particularly in Kansas. In doing so, Dell Gines of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, also offered a call-to-action for a collective response to create a more robust environment for black entrepreneurs to thrive in during the Urban Economic Development Roundtable. “We need to create a canvas that those with an entrepreneurial spirit can paint on,” Gines said at the roundtable discussion, which was coordinated by NetWork Kansas in partnership with Wichita Urban Professionals, the Create Campaign, the Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas Leadership Center. Gines shared data about the current “canvas” for Black businesses: • Black businesses employ people at Courtesy Photo a much lower rate than white firms • Not only do Black businesses employ people at a much lower rate, when African-American businesses do employ, the salary rates are much lower than other groups • Black businesses have $76,000 in average sales per year, which is close to seven times less than the white average • Black businesses are also overwhelmingly concentrated in service-providing categories “Yes we’re talking about creating more” businesses, Gines
said. “But we have to figure out how to create diversity in all sectors.” Gines presented his “Growing Your Own” framework as a possible solution to turn around the trends. According to Gines, the strategy focuses on creating a stronger ecosystem that supports Black entrepreneurship by: increasing the number of Black individuals starting businesses; helping existing businesses that want to scale to do so and to improve the distribution of Black businesses across all business types. Steve Radley, CEO of NetWork Kansas, said, “we believe that entrepreneur-focused economic development is critical to the future of most communities. We also believe that ensuring African American entrepreneurs are connected to resources will empower individuals and the African American community to consider owning their own businesses as a viable option for the future.” Gines says it is possible to have thriving black business environments using Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood business district or “Black Wall Street” — prior to its destruction in 1921 — and the black business boom during America’s Reconstruction period as examples. “If we can come out of slavery and go from 4,000 businesses to 50,000 in a system that didn’t want us to read, didn’t want us to write,” Gines said, “… then we can redefine our communities now.”
URBAN MAGNATE • 7
LIVE ART, MUSIC AND FUN TAKE OVER NOMAR INTERNATIONAL MARKETPLACE FOR NORTH END URBAN ARTS FESTIVAL
Photos by Christina M. Long
URBAN MAGNATE • 8
KANSAS HISPANIC EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION: TURNING COLLEGE DREAMS TO COLLEGE DEGREES
he Kansas Hispanic Education and Development Foundation (KHEDF) is supported by a group of individuals, businesses, and educational institutions’ strong commitment to provide Hispanic and Latino student’s and professionals opportunities for education and leadership development. “Education has long been recognized as a gateway to success. As one of the fastest-growing demographics in our country, educational attainment among Latinos is especially important to ensure that our youth are academically equipped to meet the challenges of the future.” said Yolanda Camarena, president of the KHEDF Board of Directors. The foundation, which began in 2007 as an initiative of the Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, has raised more than $341,459 and provided scholarships to 238 students. Beyond scholarships, its work also includes a series of workshops ranging from “Making the Most out of College” which is required for all scholarship awardees to “Tu Futuro: Through Education and Leadership” workshop for more than 120 USD 259 high school students and, most recently, the Lead to Succeed program, designed for Hispanic college students and young professionals as part of a grant from the Kansas Leadership Center. Camarena credits the foundation’s board and education committee for the organization’s success. That success further includes a $225,000 award from Koch Industries, Inc. to the foundation starting this fall. Five $2,500 scholarships will be awarded annually for four years to graduating Hispanic high school students majoring in business or engineering. The scholarships, Koch says, are renewable for four years. “We are impressed with KHEDF’s demonstrated history of providing access to educational opportunities for deserving students,” said Meredith Olson, vice president, public affairs, Koch Industries. “We are extremely grateful to Koch Industries and excited to begin this new partnership,” said Yolanda Camarena, board president. “This grant will allow KHEDF to increase scholarships
for students who pursue degrees in business and engineering. It will also provide seed money for the Foundation to grow as an organization and develop our education initiatives.” One student who has been impacted by a scholarship is Sofia de la O Villarreal. She earned a KHEDF scholarship in 2013 and, in 2015, was the recipient of the KHEDF Outstanding Alumni Award. She is currently attending the University of Kansas and is majoring in Chemical Engineering. In 2015, she was one of twenty students selected for the 33rd class of the University of Kansas Scholars Program a selection based on academic achievement, intellectual promise and involvement. “When I received the scholarship, it was a great opportunity since there’s not too many organizations that provide monetary support for students of Hispanic descent,” she said. “I was really happy, and it was especially touching that the scholarship was created from contributions from friends and family members to honor the memory of a loved one.” Villarreal’s 18-year-old sister, also received an award from the organization. Forty-three percent of students are the first to attend college in their families. “They are the first to attend college in the family, to me, is probably the most significant number,” Camarena said. “They are the first to go out and make that big step and influence their brothers and sisters. They influence their entire family. They have a huge impact on being able to provide and to be a better support for their family.” “Hispanics are an integral part of meeting workforce demands. Because of this, it is critical to equip Hispanics students and professionals with the skills and experiences necessary to become effective and successful employees” said Yolanda Camarena. “It’s imperative to address the gaps for Latinos in educational and in the labor force--closing the gaps today will make us more competitive and stronger in the future.”
URBAN MAGNATE • 9
LOCAL HISTORY MAKERS FEATURED IN NEW KANSAS AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM EXHIBIT, BOOK Story courtesy of the Kansas African American Museum
ven before Wichita’s incorporation in 1870, African Americans represented a significant presence in what would become the state’s largest city. A thriving community emerged along Water Street just west of the Courthouse. Entrepreneurs founded businesses, people of faith erected churches, and civic leaders founded newspapers such as The National Baptist World and the Kansas Reflector. During the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, the core of black Wichita shifted northeast to what came to be known as the McAdams neighborhood. This exhibition, which coincides with the release of Arcadia Publishing’s book “African Americans of Wichita,” examines the history of black Wichita through photographs and text, taken directly from the book. A team of professionals, with the aid of community members, worked diligently to bring this history to life. Headed by Jay Price, history professor at Wichita State University, the project team includes TKAAM Executive Director, Mark McCormick, Carole Branda, Dr. Gretchen Eick, Dr. Robert Weems and WSU graduate students Abril Marshall and Mark Strohminger. From Hattie McDaniel to Donald Hollowell, the book and the exhibition celebrate the African Americans of Wichita who built a foundation of self-reliance and community advocacy. The current generation stands on their shoulders with gratitude, empowered by their commitment and work. “We wanted to be as thorough as possible while understanding that we simply couldn’t include everything,” said Mark McCormick, Executive Director of the Kansas African American Museum. “With Doctors Jay Price, Robert Weems and Gretchen Eick, I was confident we would have a thoughtful and scholarly effort, but we all agreed that this effort was the beginning of a conversation, not a be-all-end-all examination of Wichita’s African American history. We hope that if people feel more could be said on a given issue that they take the initiative and compile research or even a book on that subject. Again, we view this effort as the beginning of a conversation, not the end.” The exhibit is open September 12 – October 31, 2015. The book, according to the museum, will be available on October 12, 2015.
ICT-UP JOIN THE MOVEMENT ICTUP.ORG
URBAN MAGNATE • 10
ICT-UP’S PRESIDENT TALKS FUTURE, GROWTH AND DISCOMFORT Story by Christina M. Long// Photo by David D. Wallace, Jr.
ne of Wichita’s biggest champions is a 33-year-old Chattanooga, Tennessee native. In his seven years in Wichita, Jonathan Long’s love for the city has: catapulted him into marketing campaigns such as Together Wichita and #ILoveWichita; prompted his engagement with city redefinition efforts such as the Fuel the Fire series sponsored by the Wichita Community Foundation and, most recently, inspired his application— and selection— to participate with the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s city-to-city trip to Greenville, SC this month. Anchoring this love and engagement is his work with Wichita Urban Professionals, a group Long created two years ago as a solution to help diverse professionals better plug into Wichita in ways that he hadn’t previously seen. “One of our members once said that Wichita feels like a small city with a big community,” Long said. “That’s because there are a lot of different ways you can be connected to Wichita. So, I think that, for us, for Wichita Urban Professionals, we have to continue to take advantage of the opportunities that we are given and the opportunities that we create.” IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM Long had previous experiences with diverse professional groups when he moved to Wichita for a reporting job with The Wichita Eagle in 2008. Though professional groups existed in Wichita, Long noticed few professionals of color connecting with those groups. He decided to take action. “It just needed to be done,” he said. “I’m not one who shies away from things if no one else is doing them. I believe in looking for solutions and, from what I saw, there was an issue in this realm.” Long began reaching out to like-minded individuals about creating Wichita Urban Professionals. He took the idea to the Urban League of Kansas, which — on a national level — has its own young professionals group. Long credits the leadership of the Urban League’s former interim executive director, Kevin Andrews, and its current interim executive director, Desmond Blake, for supporting the alignment of Wichita Urban Professionals as an auxiliary of the local league. “I wanted the mainstream Wichita community to see that there
were young, talented people of color who were just as interested in being involved and who were just as qualified to be engaged in some of these leadership opportunities that were presented,” Long said. GROWTH IN DISCOMFORT Long believes there is growth in discomfort. And, he admits, the organization has had its share of growing pains. He recalls meetings in the beginning where only one or two people would show. Then several of his core planning team members moved away from Wichita for job opportunities elsewhere. Additionally, having been a former reporter, Long said media coverage of the organization has been fair though he hasn’t been given any favors. But, Long said, there have been noticeable moments along the way that provided confirmation that the organization would withstand and thrive. “There wasn’t a point prior to when we had our launch event that we knew this was going to be successful,” Long said of the September 2014 “Our Future—Now” event. “To actually have that event and get people to show up, get media coverage and create a little bit of buzz, that really got us into a good stepping stone and proved that there is some interest in this.” Another indicator came one month later as the organization launched Urban Magnate, its bi-monthly publication. Finally, the most recent indication came at the Dreamchasers’ recognition event, held in September 2015— on the same night as Zoobilee. “It’s one thing to have a whole lot of meetings or to do small things here and there but to really come together and collectively celebrate one another and get 150 to 160 people on the same night as the city’s biggest fundraising event is a good milestone for us,” Long said. “It really kind of helped bring home the collective work we have done and the awareness that we are helping to push around the young and diverse talent here in the city.” PLEASE SEE ICT-UP on Page 29
URBAN MAGNATE • 11
ICT-UP’S VICE PRESIDENT TALKS LANES, PROGRAMS AND THE WORD “NO” Story by Christina M. Long// Photo by David D. Wallace, Jr.
anielle Johnson, Vice President of Wichita Urban Professionals, says she’s enjoying the distinct lane that the organization has carved as a change-agent in the city. “We’re very set in where we’re wanting to go whether it’s leadership development, professional development, working with minority business development or attracting and keeping our young people,” Johnson said. “It’s really amazing to think that we have people who have their foot in different doors and who really want to work with each other to build and brand this organization.” Johnson, a program coordinator for Wichita State University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, said she appreciates being able to align her passion for programming within ICT-UP. Johnson, for example, activated the group’s ambitious health and wellness initiative called “Urban Group Fit.” She also rebranded the organization’s Lunch and Learns to “Urban Empower Hours.” The first Urban Empower Hour under her watch was “The Only One in the Room” featuring Kaye Monk-Morgan and Mark McCormick, familiar voices of leadership in the area. “We have an opportunity to tailor our programs to meet needs,” she said. “We’re not a one-size-fits all and that’s cool. I want our programs to really speak to the individuals who come.” And that’s where the power of the organization lies, Johnson said. ICT-UP allows people to bring their talents, to plug in to the mission and move the group forward in ways that benefit all of its members. “Different people are finding ways and in different avenues to bring people along,” Johnson said. “Every person is reaching back and opening the doors and highlighting other members for their talent. “This is an ongoing support system and we’re legit in that support system.” Despite the many points of pride for the organization such as Dreamchasers, ICT-UP’s inaugural recognition event, there are areas she sees as opportunities for growth in the coming year. One example is that the membership is pressed for time amidst a variety of commitments. “Sometimes we don’t know how to say, ‘No,’” Johnson said. “We want to have our foot in every door so we don’t miss any opportunities to propel each other and the organization and that means everyone is working one million times harder.” Being able to more effectively delegate the workload while also sharpening the branding of the organization are among her focuses. Additionally, Johnson said she’d like to see others who are interested in Urban Professionals join the organization. Johnson said it’s easy for people to complain or to be “social media activists.” “I say stop being part of the problem and get in gear and be part of these types of organizations,” Johnson said. “ICT-UP is still growing. You have an opportunity to get in on the ground floor and to fill a purpose of the organization. “We’re asking people to be a part, find your nitch within this organization and blossom.”
URBAN MAGNATE • 12
Amplifying our voice Examining the platforms and outlets for Wichita’s young, diverse and talented voices The Community Voice #ILoveWichita Djuan Wash & his Letter to the Editor Sunflower Community Action’s Social Media//KSUN Mamarazzi Entertainment Magazine Courtesy Photo
URBAN MAGNATE • 13
BONITA GOOCH AND THE POWER OF A STATE-WIDE “VOICE” By Christina M. Long// Photo credit: Photography by Michael E. Woods
s the editor-in-chief of “The Community Voice,” Bonita Gooch has built a loyal following of more than 10,000 covering news from the city’s centralnortheast Wichita core for more than 20 years. Recently, though, Gooch came across the challenge of creating an “ineffable” dream or a dream so big that it goes beyond description and beyond belief. Gooch decided her ineffable dream was to take the Community Voice statewide. “I think we are limited by the size of our dreams,” Gooch said. “I kept thinking, ‘why am I trying to just be a small paper?’” This summer, she decided to put the first-leg of her dream in action and expanded coverage and distribution to Hutchinson, Salina, Junction City and Topeka. “I want to galvanize people to make a change for this state,” Gooch said. “When we’re dealing with people who are marginally living any way, I want to try to get messages out there that can really change the mind and change things in Kansas.” Gooch said the Voice has always been a trusted source of news. The paper provides historical context and connections to ongoing issues. It also features faces that may not always appear in mainstream media. An example is the paper’s Corporate Standout section, Gooch said. “In addition to providing a venue for members of the community to see and learn from individuals who are excelling in corporate Kansas, the Corporate Standout section also provides us a way to recognize corporations that hire and promote an inclusive workforce in hopes that other corporations will recognize the benefit of doing likewise and follow suit,” she said. That type of editorial and news perspective anchors the enjoyment Gooch said for the work she does. “People know they can go to the Voice to get their story their way,” Gooch said. “I’ll read the story somewhere else but, when I read it in ‘The Community Voice,’ I know what it means to me and what it’s about to our community and so I think people appreciate that.” Gooch said the Voice started to take a more vocal stance on local issues such as calling for the resignation of former Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams due to the force’s inaction in the area of racial profiling and because of a concern with the number of police-involved shootings of local residents. Another issue Gooch said
the paper advocated for was a “reduction of local penalties for simple marijuana possession after we saw how disproportionately African Americans were arrested for simple possession in Wichita. “The local numbers showed African Americans were 3.8 times more likely to be arrested for simple possession even though statistics show African Americans were not disproportionate consumers of marijuana.” With that, she’s also placing an emphasis on branding the paper as a “progressive voice.” “Things are really shifting and I’m glad to be a part of it,” Gooch said. “I want to get some chatter going.”
URBAN MAGNATE • 14
#ILoveWichita hashtag effort unites voices, lifts the ICT By Jonathan Long/
Photo credit: HDR Images and Portia Portugal
t a time when everyone was stating how low Wichita’s self-esteem was, the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce came up with a way to highlight the best of Wichita. Utilizing social media’s hashtag (#) phenomena, the Chamber figured out just what Wichita needed to pump itself up. By creating #ILoveWichita, Wichitans near and far are able to profess their love for the 316. “At the Chamber’s lunch in February, Laura [Bernstorf] spoke about Wichita not being proud of itself,” said Courtney Sendall, Chamber Communications Manager. “Wichita doesn’t have enough swagger. Let’s be proud, let’s brag, let’s create a hashtag.” Since starting the hashtag in February of this year, there have been more than 236 posts using the hashtag on Instagram and more than 300 uses on Twitter. Part of the popularity of the hashtag came with the Chamber putting on a contest from February 16-27 for those who used
the hashtag. The winner of the contest received a free voucher for a Southwest Airlines flight. “The contest got people’s attention,” Sendall said. “It was very exciting watching people use it and to see the things that they were saying.” “Promoting community is one of the responsibilities of the chamber,” says Angie Prather, Vice President - Communications & Investor Relations for the chamber. “It’s become, not just a promotional tool, but a unifier of communities.” The Chamber hopes that the momentum behind #ILoveWichita will carry over to its newest campaign promoting the Wichita flag. They’ve combined the two to create banners that will appear around the city with individuals holding the Wichita flag and stating why they love Wichita. “It’s made me love Wichita even more,” Prather said. “It’s helped break barriers because it’s not limiting. We’ve been able to interact with so many different facets of the community.”
URBAN MAGNATE • 15
DJUAN WASH’S LETTER TO THE EDITOR BREAKTHROUGH
WRITTEN BY DJUAN WASH, GUEST WRITER
etters to the editor can be powerful tools for making your voice heard on important issues. I had the hope that my LTE would help to quell the differences surrounding same-sex marriage, especially the differences of opinions coming from people whom I would normally consider allies. While certainly a divisive issue, my hope was to help people understand the intersectionality between same sex marriage and the fight for black lives. I utilized the Eagle because of its diverse readership and would encourage anyone who feels strongly for an issue to use this powerful tool for getting your point across. Too often people are surprised to learn that I am gay. It’s not something that I often lead with as that I don’t deem it necessary to do so. My sexuality isn’t the be-all-end-all of who I am as a Black man, nor who I am as a well-connected community activist and organizer. However, when I saw the hatred that filled the airways and internet around marriage equality, I knew I had to act. My friends and family had long known I was gay, many even before I realized it for myself, lol; now it was time for everyone to know. It was time because I felt the sting of being called a “faggot” all over again; of being told I was less than because of who I love and could marry, all the while on the front lines of the fight for racial justice along with many other black queer people who are helping to lead the
movement for Black lives. So act I did. I attended church after the ruling, and after hearing a very uplifting sermon by someone other than my pastor, my pastor made a snide remark regarding the ruling after church. To hear him say something negative in regard to the ruling, as if the sanctity of marriage had ended overnight, was literally gut wrenching. Perhaps I should have expected it. In fact, I somewhat did and had prepared myself to walk out in protest had the sermon took a turn for the worst. I was thankful it didn’t but was dismayed at the remark, nonetheless. As a communications director, I knew full well that I could utilize the Eagle, the largest paper in Kansas, to tell my story and I discussed doing so with my partner and my employer and feverishly penned the Op-ed. When I submitted it to the Opinion’s Editor, I was nervous — more nervous than I’ve been in a long time regarding my sexuality. ‘What would people think? How would they react?’ To my surprise, the reaction was not what I was expecting. I received no hate mail. I lost no relationships — even those in my church. Quite the opposite, in fact. I received an outpouring of support from the community regarding my Op-Ed and the call for people to come together in the fight for justice and equality for all. I was relieved. The editorial area had allowed me to amplify my voice on an important issue and, hopefully, touched the lives of someone else who may have been struggling with being gay.
URBAN MAGNATE • 16
DANILO BALLADARES TALKS AWARENESS, CHANGE AND SOCIAL MEDIA STORY BY CHRISTINA M. LONG
anilo Balladares has participated in hunger strikes, helped to organize collective actions for residents against land developers to prevent commercial construction from ransacking communities and helped a group of restaurant workers successfully demand basic rights — such as overtime, the right to sick leave and the establishment of paid vacations — in Miami, one of the country’s most diverse and populous cities. Beyond advocacy, Balladares believes in equipping people with tools and strategies that empower them to make changes in their own circumstances. As the Executive Director of Sunflower Community Action and Kansas People’s Action, he’s creating an expectation that Wichitans stand up and engage to create changes in their own circumstances. A video clip from a recent town hall meeting between Balladares and one of the former candidates vying to be the city of Wichita’s next police chief offers an example of the power of social media as a platform to help create change. In the clip, Balladares asked then-candidate Terri Moses, “If you find someone who is racist on your police force, do you fire them? Yes or no?” Moses’ response, “No, not at all, not at all” and her subsequent explanation during the clip was shared more than 370 times and received more than 25,000 views. Comments on the video ranged from criticism of Balladares for posting the excerpt rather than the entire exchange to blatant outrage at Moses’ response. “She gave us exactly what we were afraid to hear,” Balladares said of the exchange. His motivation for posing the question and posting the video, he says, was that “I wanted to clarify one of the points she made” during the forum, which was held in August. Since then, Wichita City Manager Robert Layton,
announced reopening the search for a police chief after the other candidate, Joel Fitzgerald, declined Wichita’s offer and accepted Fort Worth, Texas’ police chief offer where he will be the first African-American police chief, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fitzgerald is expected to begin October 19. Meanwhile, a City of Wichita news release said “Layton praised Moses’ service to the community but said stakeholders in the community and the department expressed a strong desire for ‘a new and different perspective.’” Balladares said he is disappointed that no local media outlets chose to include the video among their coverage. “No one dared to say, ‘we want to know more.’ No one said, ‘Show us the whole video.’” Balladares said. “There was a media silence on the video.” The silence is part of the reason why Balladares believes the city should embrace alternative forms of news channels and outlets. To that end, Sunflower has launched its own radio station called KSUN 95.9. The station, which launched in August, boasts a claim of being Wichita’s only community-based public radio station and seeks to be a platform for representative dialogue. PLEASE SEE DANILO CONT. ON PAGE 29
Courtesy of Sunflower Community Action
URBAN MAGNATE • 17
THE MAKINGS OF THE CITY’S URBAN ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE STORY BY CHRISTINA M. LONG// Photo courtesy of Ti’Juana Hardwell
i’Juana Hardwell has given a voice to Wichita’s underground artist and celebrity through her Mamarazzi Entertainment Magazine. “The reason why you won’t see these artists on the front page of newspapers or magazines is because … the respect level is not there for the craft,” she says. Shinning a light on the talent —and potential — of these artists is what fuels her drive. Even before Mamarazzi, Hardwell was telling the stories of the untold as a teenager with Hope Street Youth Development. Her very first interview of Donavan Johnson, better known as XV, appeared in a black-and-white publication called, “From the Streets” before he was a signed artist. Hardwell said she was brought to tears recently when, during another interview with her, Johnson pulled out a copy of that publication and story. “That, to me, was a pinnacle,” Hardwell said, adding the rapper has been in major national Hip Hop publications. “For artists to see that I did push them when they first got their start is rewarding.” Hardwell, who self-funded her first run of 1,200 magazines in 2011 and is largely self-taught, credits her long-held fascination with journalism as what launched her unto this path. Ironically, Hardwell said, the year that she began her post-secondary studies at Wichita State University was the same year the communications department nixed its magazine program. Still, Hardwell said, she treated college like an internship for her magazine and prepared to launch anyway. “I probably bothered more teachers than I realized,” Hardwell said. “I always wanted to apply what I was learning to how I could do it in the magazine industry.” Making the most of classesm, as well as maximizing her downtime at local clubs and parties to start building a rolodex of contacts, helped Hardwell become a key contact for local artists and celebrities. Despite the support, Hardwell has her fair share of critics – including herself. Hardwell said she’s learning how to better diffuse criticism from artists who aren’t selected for her cover, for example, or those who felt they should have ended up in features such as her 10 to Watch. “My magazine is my baby and I want to protect and defend it,” Hardwell said. “But I’m learning what to respond to.” She credits the mentorship of Greg “The Hitman” Williams of Power 93.5 for helping her in this regard. Hardwell, who took a brief hiatus from the magazine to launch a local reality television pilot called, “Madam ICT”, relaunched her magazine this month with features on Jondalyn Crosby, founder of Road to Hauteness, among others. New features include sections dedicated for new projects and releases. Despite the new focus, the intent remains the unchanged. “We are the publication that believes in artists before they’re big time.”
URBAN MAGNATE • 18
Photo credit: Photography by Michael E. Woods, LLC
ore than 150 diverse Wichitans filled Abode Venue to celebrate the city’s young, diverse and talented as part of Wichita Urban Professionals’ inaugural awards recognition event, Dreamchasers. The gala, presented in partnership with Spirit AeroSystems, recognized Civic Leaders, Brandon Johnson and Angela Scott; Brian Black for his mentorship; Joseph Shepard and the Latina Interest Association for their Collegiate Impact; Koch Industries, Inc. in the Corporate category; Entrepreneurs, Carlos Fernandez and Jondalyn Crosby and Robert Moody and Portia Portugal as Urban Professionals of the Year. Ann Fox of Wichita Habitat for Humanity gave an uplifting message based on the familiar tune, “Row, row, row your boat.” Rolls Royce of Power 93.5 served as emcee and Chris “Playmaker” Stimpson of Hot 103 Jamz kept the evening moving as the DJ for the after party. Urban Professionals is thankful for our sponsors: Spirit AeroSystems, Westar Energy, Wichita State University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Facility Interiors, Glam 1, CML Collective, LLC and Midwest Single Source. Visit our Facebook page or ictup.org for more photo galleries and to view the Urban Magnate Dreamchasers’ special release.
URBAN URBAN MAGNATE MAGNATE • 19 • 19
All photos on this page by David D. Wallace, Jr.
URBAN MAGNATE â€˘ 20
All photos on this page by Photography by Michael E. Woods, LLC
URBAN MAGNATE â€˘ 21
All photos on this page by David D. Wallace, Jr.
URBAN MAGNATE â€˘ 22
All photos on this page by David D. Wallace, Jr.
URBAN MAGNATE â€˘ 23
All photos on this page by David D. Wallace, Jr.
URBAN MAGNATE • 24
Heartland Home Inspection Co., LLC STORY AND PHOTOS BY CHRISTINA M. LONG
URBAN MAGNATE • 25
ock Bernard is a home buyer’s advocate. As the owner of Heartland Home Inspection Co., LLC, Bernard believes he has a responsibility to help people understand the significance of their investment. “It’s not just about buying a home,” said Bernard, who attended the Midwest Inspection Institute and holds mechanical and plumbing certifications through the state of Kansas. “It’s about investing their money in their future.” Bernard, who offices from Keller Williams Realty Signature Partners at the Waterfront, watched how his then 24-year-old son was treated through his homebuying process. “I didn’t like how he was talked to,” said Bernard. Brian Bernard agreed that he wasn’t treated appropriately. “One of the things I remember vividly was the roof,” Brian said. “There was something just off about the roof and the home inspector who came and looked at it said the roof wasn’t a big deal. He said it was common when they do an add-on.” But Brian said his background in construction told him differently. He passed on the house and, a few months ago, his decision was confirmed when his father called and told him the entire roof of the house ended up having to be replaced. “It was a good experience to have, though, and now that I’m a little older, I know when we go to buy a house again that we’ll understand things better.” That experience, as well as meeting Wayne Bell, District Director for the Wichita Office of the United States Small Business Administration who was also a business owner, prompted Bernard to start his own entrepreneurial journey. “He might not even remember me,” Bernard said of Bell. “But I watched him when he was working in his business and I thought, ‘If he can do this, we can do this.’”
Rather than opening a home inspection company as a franchise of an existing company, Bernard and his wife, Mary, built Heartland from the ground up. Bernard, who is affiliated with the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, the American Society of Home Inspectors and the Wichita Area Association of REALTORS®, performed 87 inspections in his company’s first year. This year’s goal is 175 inspections, which he feels confident he can make having performed more than 125 already. While most of his clientele is in its mid- to late 20s, Bernard says he also feels compelled to assist minorities looking to own homes. “A lot of minorities go through home buying and don’t get treated the same, I feel, as others,” Bernard said. “They’re pushed through and told, ‘This is what you have to accept’ and there’s no sense to that. “Whether I’m doing a $300,000, $400,000 house or a $25,000 house, they all deserve the same attention and same respect.” Being with Keller Williams, Bernard said, has been a tremendous experience, which has also given him exclusive rights to working with the more than 160 agents that make up the agency. That working relationship began about five months ago, Bernard said. He encourages people who are interested in making the transition from renting to buying to take their time and get to know the agents and who they’re doing business with. “Don’t just call a sign in a yard,” he said. “Go in and meet with [an agent] or have them go to meet with you. If they want to do business with you, they’ll come to your home and talk to you. If they don’t, then find one who will.”
URBAN MAGNATE • 26
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Leadership Center
GROWING PUBLIC SERVANTS
What does every local elected official need to know about leadership? By Brian Whepley, Contributing Editor, The Kansas Leadership Center Journal
obody hands you a how-to manual on how to lead when you’re elected to a local government office. You can’t buy a Rosetta Stone program to learn how to speak the dense language of government or how to communicate effectively with your constituents. But you can likely benefit from the sage advice of veteran officeholders – learned through hardearned, head-shaking experience – about what to expect and how newly elected officials should handle themselves. As a new elected official, you’re uniquely positioned to shape your community for the better, whether you’re serving on a school board, city council, county commission or community college board. But you’re also set up perfectly to speak before thinking and get in over your head, all while fully exposed in the public eye.
The decisions you’re making affect not only you but friends, strangers, neighbors, co-workers, people who voted for you and people who didn’t. Some of the advice from those veterans involves sticking with the things we all should have learned in kindergarten: work hard, listen closely, don’t yell, be careful what you say about others, say you’re sorry when you make a mistake, and don’t sigh and roll your eyes. But the truth about leadership, they say, is that success is often based more on how you do things than what you do. Read more about what local officials need to know about leadership and you can do to encourage leadership from those who represent you in the digital edition of The Journal: http://klcjr.nl/ publicservants15.
INCREASE YOUR CAPACITY TO EXERCISE LEADERSHIP.
f or t he
NOVEMBER 5-7, 2014 KANSAS LEADERSHIP CENTER Upcoming Session: Lead. KS Now. 325 E DOUGLAS AVEYou. WICHITA, 67202
Join those who share your goals and aspirations at the Kansas Community Leadership Initiative Summit Kansas Leadership Center
KANSAS LEADERSHIP CENTER
November 16-18 Register byINFORMATION October 26, 2015 FOR MORE Call, 316-712-4950 AND TO REGISTER CONTACT:
Shaun Rojas 316.712.4956, firstname.lastname@example.org The Kansas Leadership Center equips people to make lasting change for the common good. KLC focuses on leadership as an activity, not a role or position. Open to anyone seeking to move the needle on tough challenges in the civic arena, KLC envisions more people sharing responsibility for acting together in pursuit of the common good. or position. Open
URBAN MAGNATE • 28 URBAN MAGNATE • 28
URBAN LEAGUE TEAMS UP WITH ZORA NEALE HURSTON COMMUNITY CENTER TO FACILITATE TUTORING
URBAN MAGNATE • 29
ICT-UP, cont. PROMOTING MEMBERS Currently, Wichita Urban Professionals has more than 50 members of various racial/ethnic backgrounds. A continued focus on growing diverse membership as well as “making sure that we’re developing members of our organization as much as we are promoting members of our organization” are goals. One of the members he points to is Brandon Johnson who is running for the Wichita City Council. “Again, we can talk all the talk that we want, but you can’t make change without taking action and taking responsibility for your part in that,” Long said. “To have individuals like him step up and say, ‘I want to be someone who helps move this city forward,’ we need more of that spirit.”
The station, which is volunteer run and lead, has programming coverage from Noon to 5 p.m. every day and, on certain days of the week, has programming until 10 p.m., according to Balladares. “We want to have fair and balanced reporting and fair and balanced viewership,” Balladares said. “We are willing to expand, to think of new ideas and new solutions…. “We don’t want to shut anybody out.” Balladares said the station plans to relocate its antenna, in compliance with FCC regulations, to have more of a coverage area in Wichita and, by next year, he said, “our goal is to be the number one listened to radio station — not because of entertainment — but quality of content.”
WE'RE HERE; NOW IT'S TIME TO BE PRESENT www.ictup.org
Published on Oct 6, 2015
Vol. 2 Issue 1 This Urban Magnate examines the platforms and outlets devoted to Wichita's young, diverse and talented voices. See all past e...