FOR WICHITA’S YOUNG, DIVERSE AND TALENTED
VOL. 2 ISSUE 3 | FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016 www.ictup.org
DEFINING MOMENTS PREVENTING CIVIL UNREST IN WICHITA
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That’s what we all should be striving for. To make advances on the things that matter to us individually and collectively. Unfortunately, sometimes making progress can be difficult given the complexity of the challenge. Race-related issues, diversity and inclusion included, are among the most complex challenges we face as a community and a country. We’ve seen a myriad of racially-sensitive incidents take place in the last three years. Some of those incidents have led to chaos and destruction. Others have led to conversation and implementation. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you look at, communication was the catalyst for each result. The time has come to put to rest this idea of a post-racial society and start communicating about the issues plaguing our communities with vulnerability and compassion. Yes, we have a black president and Wichita has had a black mayor, fire chief and police chief, however, having men of color in those positions does not erase the systematic issues that have crippled minority communities. The spirit of everything Malcolm and Martin died for is embodied in the Black Lives Matter movement. And even though there isn’t an official chapter of the organization in Wichita, the ideology and affirmation that the organization stands on is. Those ideologies and affirmations are displayed in the activities surrounding pay day lending reform, criminal justice reform and the drive for inclusive entrepreneurship. It’s become a part the lifeblood of other countless community members who aren’t making excuses for why they aren’t involved, but, instead, are showing up day after day, night after night at countless community organizing meetings. And contrary to the opinions of some, progress is being made. Look no further than this following pages of this magazine. You’ll see the efforts Wichita State is making to help increase diversity and how it avoided a Missouri-like disaster. You’ll also see how City Manager Robert Layton utilized the community’s input in selecting our newest Police Chief, Gordon Ramsay. Sustainable change is slow and methodical. It takes aggressive, intentional implementation. It’s painstakingly frustrating. It’s also the only way to truly make progress. Jonathan Long, President Wichita Urban Professionals
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IN THIS ISSUE
ICT-UP LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT LEAD ICT-UP • 2 ON THE SCENE Urbane Art Affair • 6 COMMUNITY NEWS Clean Slate Day • 8-9
Defining Moments Intro • 10 Ted Ayres • 12-13 Dr. Marche Fleming-Randle • 14-15 Dr. Paul James, Guest Contributor • 16 City Manager Robert Layton • 17-18
Beyond Tolerance • 19
Claudia Amaro, Dream 9 • 20 Photos by Steve Pavey • 21-23
SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Synergy Arts • 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: University of Missouri student protests. Courtesy Photo copyright of its owner; used in accordance with Fair Use Doctrine of US Copyright Law
On the back cover: Jonathan Long at the Urbane Art Affair. Photo credit: Christina M. Long
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ICT-UP AND THE WICHITA ART MUSEUM COLLABORATION LEADS TO AN URBANE ART AFFAIR Photos by Christina M. Long
ON THE SCENE
ICT-UP and the Wichita Art Museum collaborated to create an Urbane Art Affair on January 30 at the museum. ICT-UP members enjoyed a reception that preceded the opening of the Gordon Parks’ “Freedom Now! Forgotten Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle” at the museum. While browsing photographs, ICT-UP member Courtney Hough said, “It’s kind of like you’re looking at the past, but not really. It’s hard.”
FREEDOM TO EXPAND
GORDON PARKS TWO NEW EXHIBITIONS
celebrating the life and legacy of Kansas native Gordon Parks
January 30 through May 8, 2016 Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Freedom Now! Forgotten Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle Organized by the Art, Design, and Architecture Museum, University of California–Santa Barbara, generously supported by Sharon and Terry Bridges. Gordon Parks, Untitled, Fort Scott, Kansas, 1950. Gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches. The Gordon Parks Foundation, Pleasantville, New York. Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation
Gordon Parks created a body of work on his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas—focusing on life under segregation. Returning to his hometown after 23 years, he used the 1950 Life magazine assignment to revisit memories of his birthplace, many involving serious racial discrimination, and to reconnect with childhood friends from grade school. A visually rich and captivating series of images, Parks’ photographs were slated to appear in Life in 1950 and 1951, but the photo essay was never published.
Gordon Parks Community Symposium February 12 and 13 wichitaartmuseum.org/gordonparks
1400 West Museum Boulevard Wichita, KS 67203
The Wichita presentation of Freedom to Expand: Gordon Parks is generously sponsored by Emprise Bank, Gridley Family Foundation, and the Kansas Humanities Council.
The Kansas Humanities Council, a nonproﬁt cultural organization promoting understanding of the history, traditions, and ideas that shape our lives and build community. KMUW FM 89 is media sponsor of Freedom to Expand: Gordon Parks.
Friends of the Wichita Art Museum
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WICHITA BAR ASSOCIATION CLEAN SLATE DAY TO EXPEDITE EXPUNGEMENTS FOR ELIGIBLE PARTICIPANTS
The Wichita Bar Association Clean Slate Day is a pro bono service project designed to Courtesy photo offer people who are economically disadvantaged the chance to have certain eligible criminal convictions expunged through a simplified process at no cost.
Clean Slate Day will be Friday, March 4, 2016, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Sedgwick County Courthouse, 525 N. Main, 5th Floor, Wichita, Kansas 67202
hose interested in participating in Clean Slate Day should plan to arrive at the Sedgwick County Courthouse any time between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday, March 4, 2016. After filling out the Expungement Personal Information Form, a background check will be performed to see if people are eligible for a no-cost Clean Slate expungement. If it is determined that the participant has eligible convictions that can be expunged (see limitations below), Clean Slate volunteers, including volunteer lawyers, will assist in preparing and filing the expungement paperwork. Participants will then appear before a judge who will decide if the expungement should be granted. To participate in Clean Slate, participants will need to provide certain information including: • Social Security Number • Date of Birth • Driver’s License Number (for those who have one) • Current Address • Current phone number • Photo ID (driver’s license, identification card, student ID, passport) Not every person or conviction will be eligible for a Clean Slate expungement.
Public information sessions will be held:
• Atwater Community Center, 2755 East 19th Street North, on Thursday, February 4th at 6:30 p.m. • Evergreen Branch of the Wichita Public Library, 2601 N. Arkansas, on Tuesday, February 16, at 10:15 a.m. • St. Francis Community Services, 4155 E. Harry, on Wednesday, February 17, at 6:00 p.m. • Central Branch of the Wichita Public Library, 223 S. Main St., on Monday, February 22, at 3:00 p.m. Information provided by the Wichita Bar Association
For more information on criteria or to access forms, please visit: wichitabar.org.
Problem solving for your success
100 N. Broadway, Suite 950 Wichita, Kansas 67202 316-265-7741 www.HiteFanning.com Gaye Tibbets Tibbets@hitefanning.com Linda Parks Parks@hitefanning.com Scott Hill Hill@hitefanning.com Jennifer Skliris Skliris@hitefannig.com
Hite Fanning & Honeyman, L.L.P. is a premiere Wichita law firm committed to helping its clients and their businesses be successful. We are available to help you solve your toughest problems. This firmâ€™s mission is to provide superior counsel, responsive client care, creative, pragmatic, timely, and cost effective solutions for our clients. Our business law section includes: Banking Creditorâ€™s Rights and Business Insolvency Business and Commercial Litigation Business Transactions, Finance and Corporate Governance Employment and Employment Discrimination Estate Planning
URBAN MAGNATE • 10
DEFINING MOMENTS By Christina M. Long, Editor, Urban Magnate
Tim Wise, an author and antiracism educator, and Paul James, a Wichita native who is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Duke University, sound off about the defining moments of today’s civil rights movement.
he fallout from the shooting deaths of unarmed AfricanAmericans to the lack of representation on big screens to the crisis unfolding in Flint, Michigan to presidential candidate rhetoric has brought conversations and demonstrations about race and inclusion to the forefront in America. Battles waged from social media screens to the streets has offered another dimension to the ongoing quest for civil rights. Even the notion of white privilege is finding its place in the ever-evolving conversation on racial diversity and accord. “I think we’re at a very defining moment in our nation’s history on issues of race and civil rights,” said Tim Wise, an author, antiracism educator and activist, who is the keynote speaker for “Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter and White Privilege” presented by Wichita State University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “It’s defining in that it can be incredibly dangerous in many ways and could go in several directions.” Wise, who is white, shares that the election of President Barack Obama, the economic meltdown, multiculturalism’s impact on popular culture and the shifting demographics has
Paul James, Courtesy photo
URBAN MAGNATE • 11 combined for what Wise describes as “a sort of perfect storm of white anxiety.” Ask Paul James, a Wichita native who is now the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Duke University, to describe the current status of the Civil Rights Movement and he’ll paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “This moment in time is more proof that our check has come back marked insufficient funds.” James clarifies King’s sentiments by adding, the fact that we are still having the same dialogues -- about race -- that our great-grandparents had suggests that we haven’t arrived. “In the age of Obama, we’re not post-racial. In the age of Obama, we have become much more aware of those subtleties around race and critical race theory. Obama’s rise doesn’t mean that Malcolm X and Mary McLeod Bethune have won. It means that his presence has pulled out and culled out the nation’s still number one challenge and that is its original sin, the TransAtlantic Slave Trade, and this notion of race and the color line.” Northeast Wichita’s Ninth and Grove area shaped James, who is African-American. Majoring in Ethnic Studies at Wichita State University under the scholastic leadership of Dr. Anna Chandler and Dr. John Gaston gave him formal training in the field. Just as important, James said, was the time he spent under the tutelage of the late Jihad Muqtasid and Dr. Maaskelah Thomas at Iqraa African
American Books and Gifts where he learned the meaning of being Black from an African-centered standpoint. Additionally, Dr. Anthony Ross, shaped James’s aspirations of holding a career in academia and Higher Education – career aspirations that have led James to influence the decision making of institutions seeking systemic progress in the areas of diversity, intercultural awareness and inclusive excellence. “Everybody needs diversity and inclusion courage,” James said. “As we think about diversity now, it’s race, ethnicity, class; it’s LGBTQ communities, it’s diversity of thought, it’s socio-economic, language, it’s gender among others. You see, there are so many dimensions and intersections to diversity that, unless an individual came from Mars, you can’t be neutral to the human experience.” Nor can change-makers and those who are courageous have “small-ball thinking” when working to change inclusion paradigms, said Wise, the antiracism activist. “Too many are working around the edges of systems, making it a little less awful when we need to be transforming them completely,” Wise said. “Don’t just be satisfied with small reforms.” And don’t get weary in the work, Wise said. “One doesn’t have the luxury of getting so discouraged that you give up hope,” he said. Past generations “fought for a really long time against far more dangerous odds than we have to, even in these moments. If those folks had to fight and move the ball forward for us … facing the constant threat of death, if they didn’t give up than none of us have the luxury of being any weaker than them.”
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LESSONS APPLIED: WSU LEADER AND THE MIZZOU PROTESTS By Christina M. Long, Editor, Urban Magnate
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he officer-involved shooting death of Michael Brown in August 2014 brought Ferguson, Missouri into the national spotlight due to protests and served as a catalyst for the #Blacklivesmatter movement. A month later, the University of Missouri’s student body association began to publicly criticize university administration for failing to address a number of racially-charged incidences on campus. Concerned Student 1950, a student group named for the year African-American students were first admitted to the university, formed in October 2014, according to CNN reports, and unsuccessfully issued a series of demands which included a call for the university’s president, Tim Wolfe, to be removed from office. A residence hall is “adorned” with a swastika drawn in feces, according to news reports. Student leader Jonathan Butler launches a hunger strike, the university’s football players announce they won’t play until Wolfe steps down, which happens in November. The university’s Chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, also resigned.
Ted Ayres, Courtesy photo
Ted Ayres, Wichita State University’s Director of Community Engagement and Opportunity, was not only watching the events unfold. As the PresidentElect for the Mizzou Alumni Association’s Governing Board, he was involved in frequent discussions about the association’s role and response. In July of this year, he’ll take the helm as President of the alumni association board. Ayres said his role largely focused on directing a response, urging alumni association board members to keep calm and not to respond to every criticism on social media and reminding people to listen, to absorb what was happening and use it to do what the association could to help the campus improve. “Where the university was at fault was either it was not taking concerns seriously, handling those concerns effectively or not listening,” Ayres said. “People felt unheard and when they feel they’re not being listened to, they become frustrated. Frustration leads to blow ups, but we can learn from this and continue to make ourselves better.” Ayres said he recognized some of the same frustrations being voiced from student leaders at Wichita State University, particularly from Joseph Shepard, student body president. Ayres credits Shepard’s “foresight and leadership in helping synergize WSU conversations.’ Ayres also commends WSU for taking the concerns seriously and holding a series of forums. “There’s been a recognition by the university about the need for dialogue watching what is going on with other universities,” Ayres said. “The initiative to provide a forum offers a stage for people to talk, share stories and ideas. I hope these discussions will be ongoing.”
Also ongoing is the work his office is leading to help rally residents in Fairmount and engage stakeholders throughout the city to re-engage with the historic neighborhoods surrounding the university as part of the “Enough is Enough” initiative. The initiative was born following the tragic death of Letitia Davis at Fairmount Park. In an open letter to the community, Wichita State University President, John Bardo wrote: “We don’t live in a bubble at Wichita State. Our success and future are tied in every way to the success of the surrounding area. We know we have the expertise and capacity on this campus to help. It is time to turn those feelings into action.” The initiative, which received a $250,000 grant Ted Ayres, presidentfrom the Kansas Health Foundation, elect of the Mizzou is looking to improve Alumni Association safety, boost the and a WSU director, area’s economic vibrancy, create on takeaways from the inviting programs to protest. encourage the use of park facilities and develop stronger connections between residents and the campus. When reflecting on Mizzou, the work ahead with Fairmount and even the call-to-action regarding WSU’s own challenges, Ayres sees many of the same themes arise. “We can learn best practices that can transfer and translate all around us,” he said. “Our futures are linked. In the end, we’re going to do what we can here to see WSU held up as a role model and more than a university, but a change maker for good.”
“We can learn best practices that can transfer and translate around us,”
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PREVENTING FALLOUT Dr. Marche Fleming-Randle tapped to lead By Christina M. Long, Editor, Urban Magnate
Ferguson exploded. The University of Missouri ignited. And controversy sparked at Wichita State University – first, due to
Courtesy of Wichita State University
renovations at the university’s Grace Memorial Chapel; criticisms about the university’s handling of the chapel controversy and in response to demands presented to the university, largely on staffing and finance concerns, from Wichita State University’s Student Government Association President, Joseph Shepard. The University held two town hall-style meetings: one on the chapel and the other on diversity. At the forum on diversity, university President, John Bardo, took Q&A head-on from students, including Shepard who, at one point, asked the president if he was concerned about losing his job. Following the meeting, Shepard presented a list of demands to the university, and even publicized a protest of Bardo. The protest never happened. The university has acted upon some of the concerns. The temperature on campus is settling. Ask Dr. Marche Fleming-Randle, assistant dean of the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at WSU and the newly-appointed Assistant to the President for Diversity, what were some contributing factors that prevented Wichita State from igniting. Besides swift action, she also talks about her willingness to get in the thick of things and lead. “Show me a team that’s not winning and I’ll show you a coach that’s not coaching. I had to get in and start coaching. I have two MVPs and I had to make sure they stayed MVPs,” she said of Bardo and Shepard.
STEPPING INTO IT
It was standing-room only at WSU’s Forum on Diversity: Open Dialogue with President Bardo on November 16, 2015. With a lapel mic, Bardo took the room’s questions and comments at the forum, which lasted more than one and-a-half hours drawing nearly 250 Wichita State University students, faculty and staff. The forum was among the university’s attempts to move forward on its strategic goal to “reflect the evolving diversity of society.” Among several statements Shepard made, The Eagle captured him saying, “There comes a point when you have to realize we are investors in this institution and it is our dollars which keep Wichita
URBAN MAGNATE • 15 State up and running. We cannot have people advocating fur us who do not know our experiences, who do not look like us, who do not come from the same background as us. This is not a black and white issue. This is diversity. That means Hispanics, that means LGBTQ, that means disabilities, that means individuals who have literally come from all walks of life.” In an effort to “demand answers” about student fees and campus safety, Shepard called for a protest of Bardo that was supported by some student organizations and denounced by others. Fleming-Randle, who had also been appointed as the advisor to the university’s Student Government Association as well as the President’s executive team, saw the tension between Bardo and Shepard brewing and she said she stepped in. “I could have still been sitting over here in my little silo,” she said of her office in Lindquist Hall, “and things probably would have gotten out of hand— more so. But I took the challenge, I stepped into it. I’m not going to let this happen.” Dr. Marche FlemingFleming-Randle Randle said she was involved in a mediation session between the two leaders to bring them together. “You’re talking about a generation gap,” Fleming-Randle said. “You’re talking about a president in his 60s and a young man in his 20s. They needed someone who was in the middle [who] understood both sides.” She said, through the mediation, they both talked about the issues and how they could have been handled better. “When you have that on the table,” she said, “nobody walks away upset about it.”
“...I took the challenge. I stepped into it. I’m not going to let this happen.”
GETTING BACK ON TRACK
It’s a crisp winter afternoon in Fleming-Randle’s office in Lindquist Hall at WSU. She’s firing off emails. Her cell phone and office phone compete for her immediate attention. She looks up and says, “It’s a character-building day.” In a statement about Fleming-Randle’s appointments, Bardo said: “Since I returned to WSU four years ago, Dr. Fleming-Randle has consistently provided me with wise counsel on a variety of academic student affairs and employee matters. She is well respected throughout the university for her high standards and sound advice. I thought it was time to officially bring her voice to the
table to help the university move forward on these important matters.” Shepard, the student body president, said that despite the negative feedback he has received, it was important to him to represent those who felt their voices weren’t heard. “I think it’s important to make note that President Bardo and I made progress. Just because certain students didn’t feel the institution didn’t need what we were asking for in the demands does not mean there wasn’t a purpose for asking for those things in the first place,” Shepard said. “Because we asked, we now have a Diversity Chief Officer working to make our institution a more diverse and inclusive place for all. If President Bardo didn’t see any validity in those demands which were being made, he wouldn’t have appointed Dr. Marche to serve in the role she does now. “I am excited to move forward and progress our student body.” In other steps to address concerns, the university has compiled a list of the themes the forum unveiled which include: addressing the diverse make-up of faculty and staff, increasing diversity training for faculty and staff, improving the university’s responsiveness, exploring more financial aid and scholarship options for students, creating a university Code of Ethics, improving campus safety and making sure the campus is secure. Bardo, through an open letter released shortly after the forum, invited people to submit ideas for improvements to his email address. The university has since stated, in news reports, it should have “issued a firmer statement of support” for students based on the fallout from the chapel renovations. It has created a “Diversity at WSU” link on its homepage that leads to a landing page with various university offices and resources, starting with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Fleming-Randle is working to help raise awareness and promote the Office of Diversity and Inclusion as a key resource in place at WSU. She is planning more public forums, is focusing on programming and initiatives that will help boost the diversity of faculty and staff on campus and also boost enrollment. She is also seeking more opportunities to engage with the community offcampus and create more access to the university for community groups. “We’re getting back on track with some of the things we need to do,” Fleming-Randle said, “and my important role here is holding people accountable about diversity.”
SYSTEMIC APPROACHES TO DIVERSITY
URBAN MAGNATE • 16
aul James, a Wichita native who is now the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Duke University, outlines the following components for colleges and universities looking to create successful diversity and inclusion programs. 1. Authenticity: In creating a structure for diversity and inclusive excellence, everyone involved must feel that the process is inherently based on authenticity and that it is done for the right reasons, structurally. 2. Multiple Voices and Intercultural Narratives: Inviting diverse voices helps to create the structures and diversity of thought with respect to how you pull together strategic diversity imperatives, administratively and academically. 3. Chief Diversity Officer: Must be a person who understands the gravity of leading diversity efforts at 30,000 feet; meaning the person or persons must understand how to be collaborative in nature while navigating institutional hierarchy. • Within a diversity position, you have to work across academic and administrative lines and you must be able to maneuver within different communities beyond campus, as well, because universities thrive off of the existence of students and these students come from communities that have cultures and subcultures. • The Chief Diversity Officer must also be able to work with tenured faculty members, administrators, students and staff to bring about a diversity portfolio that is very clean, concise, measurable and consistent. The diversity portfolio must include correlations and relationships to how students are recruited and correlations to academic and class offerings that suggest that diversity and inclusion within the curriculum is also important. James added, you’ve got to have people committed to the work who have courage; courage to do the thing that will make the environment the most successful in respect to diversity and inclusion. They’ve got to have academic courage, student affairs courage, hiring and promotion courage. Courage must run throughout the academic community, and beyond.
Paul James, Courtesy Photo
featuring Paul James, Guest Contributor
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“WE’RE NOT BALTIMORE” Wichita City Manager Robert Layton talks about the city and commuinity’s response to policing practices amidst the search for a permanent police chief Story by Christina M. Long, Editor, Urban Magnate/ Photo by Jonathan Long
rotestors took to the streets of Baltimore infuriated by the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray in police custody. The six officers charged in connection with Gray’s death have pleaded not guilty. In September 2015, the city of Baltimore approved a $6.4 million settlement deal with Gray’s family. One month later, the city’s police department began a pilot program of officers wearing body cameras. And, though Wichita has experienced some of the same challenges in the aftermath of officer-involved shootings and the frustration some Wichitans have expressed about the decision to not release body camera footage from a recent police-involved shooting at West High school, City Manager Robert Layton confidently says, “We’re not Baltimore.” Nor is Wichita Ferguson, Missouri where protestors took to the streets following the shooting death of Michael Brown in August 2014 and the lacking indictment against the officer involved. What made Wichita different? Besides the collaborative and decisive role stakeholders contributed to the search for the city’s police chief, Layton points to the “No Ferguson Here” town hall meeting held at East High school as a “seminal moment” for Wichita. “We were committed to having an authentic conversation.”
RELEASING STEAM IN A PRESSURE-COOKER
Summer 2014 brought officer-involved shootings to the forefront, nationally and locally. In Wichita, the July 4, 2014 WPD officer-involved shooting death of Icarus Randolph, a veteran who was reportedly suffering from PostTraumatic Stress Disorder, came weeks before the August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Investigations in both cases would later lead to officers not facing any criminal charges. Communities were on edge in the days and weeks immediately following both shootings. Layton commends local ministers for coming forward to help plan the No Ferguson Here forum held at Wichita East High School in late August. The forum drew nearly 2,000 people. “It was multiple hours of people venting their concerns
about what’s going on in the community and their perception of police issues,” Layton said. “You could tell, it was almost like releasing steam in a pressure cooker. “People needed the ability to be heard.” The forum, Layton said, gave people that space to be heard — and to respond — in truth and authenticity. Of the panelists responding to people’s concerns, Layton said, “They listened and they didn’t give canned responses. They gave responses that fit the situation, explained where they could, said they’d go back and look at issues that we can’t explain.” Layton also credits groups like Sunflower Community Action, the Wichita Branch NAACP, the Racial Profiling Advisory Board and others for being willing to come back to the table following the forum to talk policies, about follow-up forums and the search for a permanent police chief.
URBAN MAGNATE • 18
Photo courtesy of the City of Wichita
In September 2014, Layton began an extensive police chief search following the retirement of former Police Chief Norman Williams. Collecting input from community leaders, representatives and police employees with the help of an assessment process conducted by Wichita State University was critical to Layton’s approach. Considering the local issues of replenishing depleted police forces and making the force more diverse, Layton said he also wanted candidates who could speak to concerns about the use of force and racial profiling. “The best way to make people feel safe is for people to trust their police department and to feel they can talk to their police officer— and not just make a call to 911 — about what’s going on in their neighborhood and to get and share information,” Layton said. Protestors who, in December 2014, agreed asking for the creation of a community-led curriculum on crisis intervention training, according to news reports. “Cameras don’t stop bullets,” Louis Goseland, one of the protestors, was quoted as saying. “Understanding and a connection with the public is what’s going to prevent future killings.” Still, the WPD faced even more community scrutiny following another officer-involved shooting death in Wichita — this time of John Paul Quintero in January 2015. The shooting prompted more protests, including one staged by Quintero’s family at City Hall during a routine police briefing. The FBI has since confirmed to local media that it is investigating the case. At the time, interim police chief Nelson Mosley was in place. Mosley, Layton said, did more than maintain the department, but he steered it into implementing a number of policy and procedural recommendations including rolling out Wichita’s police body camera and policy program that outfitted half of the department’s officers with cameras in 2015. “He did an admirable job,” Layton said of Mosley, who has since announced his retirement. In another decisive act of leadership, Layton reopened the police chief search after the preferred candidate declined Wichita’s offer to, instead, lead a police department in Texas. “There were many people in the community who didn’t agree with my decision” to extend the search, Layton said. But all of the feedback gathered from
community residents, leaders and police department staffers, showed a preference for someone from outside of Wichita being named to the post, Layton said. He had a commitment to honor their feedback which meant reopening the search. “When we put together the profile for the position,” Layton said, “I had a good idea of what the employees wanted — those who worked for the police department — as well as what the community wanted. And what I said frequently in the process, was that I was surprised, initially, but very happy that they were in alignment.” In December 2015, Layton announced Gordon Ramsay as Wichita’s Chief of Police. Layton points to Ramsay’s experience in community policing and with body cameras, as well as his leadership abilities, as to why he was the right fit for Wichita, particularly in these times.
MOVING THE NEEDLE
Still another officer-involved shooting was reported in Wichita in December when a 17-year-old male was shot by a WPD officer. The teenager was reported to be in critical, but stable condition, following the shooting that occurred at West High school. Two of the officers involved were wearing body cameras. Though the department released a still image of the teenager, the video footage from the cameras has not been released due to its role in an ongoing investigation, according to news reports. Some community organizations are calling for the footage to be released. Despite the lack of agreement, Layton points to the infrastructure has been laid to further police and community dialogue through the town hall meetings, the police chief search and the policy reviews and recommendations that engaged community stakeholders. “We’ve got to move the needle,” Layton said. He emphasized that the groundwork has been laid that allow opportunities for stakeholders to come back to the table to see how the policies are working and to discuss potential changes. While there may be instances where people think policies don’t go far enough or there are disagreements, Layton said he’s been pleased that people are continuing to stay engaged in the process for change. “Let’s not just have one meeting and say, ‘that’s good,’” he said. “Let’s be serious about how we’re going to go forward… it’s a partnership. We have to have ongoing relationships. It’s not just one transaction and you’re gone. “We’re in this together.”
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BEYOND TOLERANCE: IMPACTING PASTORS, PEOPLE AND PERSPECTIVES
Story and Photos By Christina M. Long
Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church turned deadly in Charleston, South Carolina in June 2015. In response, congregations in Wichita and across the nation held prayer vigils. Following one of the vigils in Wichita, Rev. Wade Moore, pastor of Christian Faith Centre, later participated in a gathering of local pastors where he conveyed remarks he’d heard from other African-Americans who felt they were just “tolerated.” “We brainstormed and said we’ve got to move beyond tolerance,” Moore said. The idea of “moving beyond tolerance” struck a chord with Sam Muyskens, founder of Global Faith in Action. Muyskens said he didn’t know Moore, but asked for a meeting so the two could talk. Moore and Muyskens met that same day. “We talked for awhile and we decided that we would try to invite white, black and brown pastors together” in an effort to find ways to bring Wichita’s diverse communities together, Muyskens said. One of the first steps they took was inspired by a prayer vigil participant who had the idea of symbolizing unity by tying white, black and brown ribbons around trees and throughout the city. Muyskens and Moore approached Mayor Jeff Longwell to kick off the effort downtown. The duo also asked Longwell to be the honorary chair for the initiative now known as Beyond Tolerance. “There wasn’t a split moment of silence on his part,” Muyskens said of the Mayor’s acceptance. “It was immediate.” Following the ribbon distribution, the men discussed conducting pulpit exchanges between local pastors. “We wanted to, purposefully and intentionally, move people out of our comfort zones and get them to talk,” Moore said of the effort.
Muyskens said, “Black pastors and white pastors don’t spend a lot of time in each other’s churches. We worship in such different places.” To address any apprehensions, the group organized meet and greets so pastors could become familiar with one another before exchanging pulpits for worship services. Moore described his pulpit exchange with Rabbi Michael Davis of Congregation Emanu-El, a Jewish congregation, as “one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had.” Moore said he took his congregation to worship and Davis’ congregation came over to Moore’s church then fellowshipped afterward together. Moore described his church as an African-American Pentecostal-style church compared with Rabbi Davis’ Jewish Synagogue. “It was amazing,” Moore said. In addition to the ribbon distribution, pulpit exchange and interfaith rally, the group is launching a series called “Amazing Faith Dinners” this month where people sign up to eat in one another’s homes and have facilitated dialogue and discussions. More than 50 people have signed up to participate so far, organizers say. The idea of helping people forge relationships is another effort to help prevent the kind of unrest other cities — such as Baltimore — have experienced both Muyskens and Moore said. “We don’t think it can happen here but we’re sitting on a powder keg,” Moore said. “My approach is to be proactive. Let’s get ahead of this thing. Let’s get some relationships in place.”
Learn more at globalfaithinaction.org
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WICHITAN GAINS NATIONAL EXPOSURE IN ONGOING QUEST FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS story By Christina M. Long
Claudia Amaro shares her immigration story with Urban Magnate. Photo credit: Christina M. Long
FEATURING PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEVE PAVEY WWW.STEVEPAVEY.COM Used with permission.
laudia Amaro is one of the DREAM 9; a group of immigrants who, in 2013, participated in what an NPR news story classified as one of the riskiest – if not the riskiest- protest in the history of the immigration rights movement. The group’s action has drawn praise and ire, alike. Like Amaro, each of the activists was brought to and raised in the United States as children but remain undocumented. They all either voluntarily left the United States or were deported and, through the protest organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, attempted to reenter the country and were detained. Amaro, 37, has been released from detention after roughly two-and-a-half weeks and is seeking asylum. She currently has a work permit and is awaiting her case to be heard in 2019, she says. Amaro has been approved to stay in the United States until her case is heard. Amaro says she only left the United States to keep her family intact following her husband’s deportation for a traffic violation. Though the Amaros tried adjusting to life in Torreon, Mexico, Amaro says, corruption, harassment and a hard transition for the couple’s young son in the seven years they were there left them feeling too unsafe. After several unsuccessful attempts to get Visas, Amaro joined The Dream 9, got her story chronicled in a book of 26 testimonials of others facing similar circumstances and participated in the border crossing in an act of civil disobedience that drew national headlines and the hashtag, #BringThemHome, on social media. While waiting on her case to be heard, Amaro said she has received numerous calls from others who are looking to legalize their immigration status and live beyond the shadows. Rather than taking on cases for people, she says she works with people who feel her story —and status — reflect their own. She has organized several informational immigration forums and founded a Spanish-language radio talk show that talks about health and wellness, immigration and other topics from woman’s point of view. Through it all, Amaro says, she wishes people would take the time to understand the complexities within immigration reform. There is a lot of pain around the issue, Amaro says, but, working together can bring about real solutions to a system that, all sides agree, is broken. As for her own journey, Amaro says of Wichita, “This is my home and I’m going to fight to stay here.”
Photo courtesy of Steve Pavey | stevepavey.com
Photo courtesy of Steve Pavey | stevepavey.com
Photo courtesy of Steve Pavey | stevepavey.com
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SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT
SYNERGY ARTS BRINGS CULTURE, COMMUNITY TOGETHER
STORY AND PHOTOS BY CHRISTINA M. LONG
ichelle Raftopoulos Mallow grew up in Wichita’s Midtown district and started dancing at the Orchard Park Recreation Center when she was just two-years-old. From there, her experience with dance organizations spanned from the Wichita Children’s Theater and Dance Center to the Kansas City Ballet Academy to dancing with Friends University to Wichita State University, among numerous other outlets earning her a number of awards and accolades. She’s now translating that same energy for dance through her new business, Synergy Arts, that’s nestled on the corner of 13th and Waco streets. “The studio incorporates many arts so that parents don’t have to drive all over the city,” said Mallow, 29, who opened her business in October 2015 after deciding to step away from corporate America following her husband’s
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medical discharge from the military. In opening her company, Mallow says she’s not only able to spend precious time with her 1-year-old and 4-year-old children. She’s also able to “touch other people with the joy of movement and art and also healthy living.” The studio offers: Dance-Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Musical Theater, Gymnastics, Cheer, Art, Vocal, Modeling, Pageantry, Music (Guitar, Accordion, Cello, Oboe), Taekwon-do, Adult Zumba, Mixxedfit, Belly Dance and more. Other services include holding pageants, birthday parties and health and wellness coaching and classes. Helping Mallow is a staff of instructors with various accolades, themselves, including: Amanda Wheeler, a former Miss Greater Wichita and 2nd runner up in the Miss Kansas Pageant; Vanessa Huiras, a Second Dan Black Belt; Dona Baba, who is a professional Middle-Eastern dancer and dance education instructor for institutions including Wichita State University; Greg Golding, a guitarist and electric bassist who is a frequent performer at R. Coffee House; Roulie Raftopoulos, Javier Martinez and Kristen Kientz. “It’s a positive thing in the neighborhood. You want
more things like this especially so the local kids can get involved. She offers so much, you can bring your kids— girl or boy — and they’ll have something to do here,” said a parent whose daughter, 5-year-old daughter, Violet, has been attending since the studio’s opening. “I even might want to get involved in a mom’s night.” Mallow said she’s proud to be able to invest in the Midtown area and is intentionally making her programming accessible and affordable to encourage as much participation as possible. As an example, some of her classes, she said, run for just $36 a month. “I think we offer a healthy alternative for kids around the neighborhood who may not have been able to take part otherwise,” said Mallow. “We also specifically lowered our prices just for the area so that kids who don’t have the opportunity to do this can.” In addition to offering a wide variety of classes for children and adults, Mallow said she also sees the potential for her studio to be a hub of entrepreneurial activity where people can participate in activities such as creating handmade soaps, for example, and then selling them. “I want to touch our community here in Midtown, Nomar and Riverside and help build the community,” Mallow said. “I want to bring people together and stop everyone from having to drive east or west. We are trying to bring positive role models into the community for kids to look up to. I hope to touch our community so that it will grow into an amazing firework in the heart of Wichita through the people, the businesses, the love and the joy.”
1353 N. Waco | 316-207-1198 Like Synergy Arts on Facebook
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By Chris Green, Managing Editor, The Kansas Leadership Center Journal
hen the friction between the Ferguson law enforcement community and AfricanAmericans exploded into a national storm in the summer of 2014, the Rev. Kevass Harding of Dellrose United Methodist Church had a special vantage point from which he could set out to try to bridge the divide back home in Wichita. Before being called into the ministry, Harding had served as a Wichita police officer for nearly four years in the early 1990s. He’d lived the challenges that officers face. “There’s great cops, and I felt like I was one of them,” Harding says. “But there’s instances where police brutality really exists.” As he followed the events in Ferguson, Harding didn’t want to wait to see whether tensions between police and the community in Wichita would worsen. He resolved to do something pre-emptive – to help turn down the heat between police and minority groups in Wichita to get it to a productive level, instead of cranking it up. One of Harding’s first calls was to another African-American church official in Wichita, the Rev. Junius Dotson, senior pastor at St. Mark United Methodist Church. Their efforts helped bring the #NoFergusonHere community conversations to reality in hopes alleviating of tensions between the police and diverse communities in Wichita. Contributing editor Laura Roddy takes a look back at the leadership lessons that can be learned from the roles Harding and Dotson played in the #NoFergusonHere effort in the Winter issue of The Journal, the quarterly magazine published by the
Kansas Leadership Center. The story explores what’s changed — and what hasn’t — in the year-and-a-half since Harding, Dotson and others began working on the issue. One outcome from the #NoFergusonHere community meetings in 2014 was a decision to outfit all of the Wichita Police Department’s 400 officers with body cameras. But Kansas is also one of 15 states that have proposed measures restricting public access to police body camera footage. The Winter edition of The Journal also explores the question: How much access should the public have to the recordings from police body cameras in Wichita? To use the language of the KLC, answering that question means wrestling with competing values. Journal columnist Mark McCormick contends that unless the public has sufficient access to the footage from interactions between the police and citizens, implementing police body cameras will do little to improve the relationship between police and the people they serve. “It’s almost like someone selling you a lock but no key, a television with no screen or a door with no doorknob. It’s legislation from the famed Island of Misfit Toys,” McCormick writes. In a contrasting opinion piece, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett writes that while body cameras offer promise, “Public policy discussions regarding access to video recordings must balance issues of cost, privacy and one’s right to a fair trial.” Copies of the Winter issue of The Journal will be available for purchase at Watermark Books in Wichita.
INCREASE YOUR CAPACITY TO EXERCISE LEADERSHIP.
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KANSAS LEADERSHIP CENTER
Join those who share your goals and aspirations at the Kansas Community Kansas Leadership Center Leadership Initiative Summit NOVEMBER 5-7, 2014 KANSAS LEADERSHIP CENTER 325 E DOUGLAS AVE WICHITA, KS 67202 Upcoming Session: You. Lead. Now.
March 15-17, 2016 FOR MOREby INFORMATION Register February 16, 2016 AND TO REGISTER CONTACT: Call, 316-712-4950
Shaun Rojas 316.712.4956, email@example.com 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
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MARY K. VAUGHN TAKES THE HELM AT THE URBAN LEAGUE OF KANSAS
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Content provided by the Urban League of Kansas
Photo credit: Christina M. Long
he Board of Trustees of the Urban League of Kansas has announced the appointment of Mary K. Vaughn as the new Executive Director effective December 2, 2015. Ms. Vaughn succeeds Desmond Blake who has served as the Interim CEO for 18 months. “She’s a known entity. She’s an excellent manager and we believe she will be an asset as we take these next steps. She’s someone people can identify with, who has a wealth of credibility,” said Melody McCrayMiller, Board chair. “We just felt that in Wichita, we needed a local person to take advantage of where we’ve positioned the agency and to get us to the next level.” Mary K. Vaughn retired from the City of Wichita in 2015, where she served for nearly 12 years as Director of the Housing and Community Services Department. Her entire professional career has been in public service at the local and federal levels. Vaughn is passionate about improving the lives of people who need encouragement and resources to achieve their fullest potential. To
that end she designed and implemented the City’s Housing First program, and created a special summer youth employment program for 14 and 15 year old youth whose families live in Public Housing or who use Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. Before coming to Wichita, Vaughn was a department director for the City of Kansas City, MO and the City of Dallas, TX and was a regional director for the Corporation for National and Community Service. She also served as Acting City Manager for the City of Kansas City, Mo. in the early 90s during the search for a City Manager. Vaughn holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University and has participated in post-Master’s training, including the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University. The Urban League of Kansas, Inc, an affiliate of the National Urban league, has a 61 year history of providing services to the Wichita community which includes 4 other counties in the MSA. The organization was founded in 1954 with the mission to facilitate economic self-reliance and an improved quality of life for Urban League of Kansas clients through education, empowerment and self-respect. The agency offers programs in Housing, Workforce and Education and Youth Empowerment.
WE'RE HERE; NOW IT'S TIME TO BE PRESENT www.ictup.org