Activism | KCUR


Segment 1: National School Walkout Day.

This morning, students around the country walked out of their classrooms to protest gun violence and to demand action on mass shootings. We hear about what happened in KC and examine whether schools have a role in fostering student activism.

Lorie Shaull / Wikimedia Commons

Student activists have taken the lead on conversations about gun control after last month's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Their calls to action have spurred youth demonstrations across the country, including here in Kansas City. How are teenagers organizing so effectively, and what should parents know about their own kids' interest in social activism? Today, we get answers from family psychologist Wes Crenshaw, and three area high school students.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Overland Park police uncover hoax call in time, Kansas lawmaker sponsors anti-swatting legislation.

Two dramatic 'swatting' calls have occurred in separate Kansas communities. In Overland Park, police responded to one such hoax in January, and in Wichita, a man was shot and killed by police who received a 'spoofed' call just before the New Year. Today, we learn what 'swatting' is, how law enforcement is reacting and what legislators are doing to crack down.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Work hard and you’ll be successful, is how the old adage of the American Dream goes.

But the members of one Kansas City organization are adding their voices to a national movement arguing that’s not really the case, and they're emerging from some of America's lowest-paying industries to do it.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Where do you go job-wise when your previous position was press secretary to the president of the United States? Today, we ask someone who knows, Kansas City native and former Obama staffer Josh Earnest. Then, activist organizations pushing to improve conditions for low-wage workers face a unique challenge: Getting folks who can ill-afford time off to show up for a protest. We'll find out how groups like Stand Up KC are overcoming that hurdle.

David DeHetre / Flickr -- CC

After the 2016 presidential election, many people were surprised by Donald Trump's win. National news organizations sent reporters out to so-called "Trump country," trying to figure out what they missed. We take a look at how stories that unfold nationally play out in Midwestern states.

Then: A look back at the fight for gay rights in Kansas. KCUR's C.J. Janovy shares stories of activists who both struggled and found solidarity in an inhospitable state.


Across America, gentrification is pricing people out of the communities they grew up in. Today, we look at alternatives to avoid raising the cost of living in existing neighborhoods.

Then, we learn how Jamie Sanders, the lead actor in the KC Rep's latest play about a young boy with autism, forged a connection with his character through his own experience with Tourette syndrome. 


Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

One year after the Women's March on Washington swept cities across the world, including Kansas City, Missouri, Randy Fikki's 9-year-old daughter asked him why there wouldn't be a local march this year.

"I didn't have an answer for that," Fikki says.

Paul Andrews /

Sheri "Purpose" Hall is a spoken word poet, an author, an ordained minister and an activist. She's represented Kansas City in national poetry slams and recently, a video of her performing one of her poems, "Irregular Rape Poem," has gone viral. Hear her story.


Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

After losing her son to murder in 2011, Rosilyn Temple turned her grief into action. She formed Mothers in Charge, whose members respond to every homicide call in Kansas City, Missouri. Her story is now the subject of a new documentary, and Temple and director Jon Brick explain how the film came about. Then, Overland Park is having its first competitive mayoral race in two cycles.

Bobnjeff / Flickr - CC

Despite passing away 25 years ago, Marjorie Powell Allen's life works continue to impact the Kansas City region. Today, we recall the businesswoman, educator and philanthropist, chronicled in a new biography. Then, we speak with two-time Grammy winner and Leavenworth native Melissa Etheridge, and learn how and why she continues to advocate for the environment and the LGBTQ community.  

A local writer and playwright tells us about her irreverent grandma, who she calls an "R-rated black Yoda."

Then: Dolores Huerta co-founded the National Farmworkers Association with Cesar Chavez, but she may be one of the least-known activists in American history. In light of a new documentary coming out this month, we hear more about Huerta from her great-niece, who lives in KC.


Paul Andrews /

At a crossroads in his life, Kansas artist Dave Loewenstein was haunted by the words of an organic farmer.

"If we can't sell it to working class people," the farmer had asked about his produce, "what are we doing?"

Dave wondered the same thing of his art. He had a hard time seeing the point in his landscape paintings, even in a best-case scenario.

Dave Loewenstein

Jul 14, 2017
Paul Andrews /

He's traveled around the Midwest to translate other people's stories into art that lives on city walls. Now we hear muralist Dave Loewenstein's story.


Marleah Campbell / KCUR 89.3

Television has rapidly evolved since its humble, black-and-white beginnings. Today, we discuss how  TV has forever changed the American culture. Then, actress and activist Morgan Fairchild joins us to discuss her advocacy work and insights on current events and politics.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

When Mamie Hughes first came to Kansas City, back in the early 1950s, things were a bit different than they are now.

"I used to wish I had a dollar for every time I was called n-----," says the 87-year-old.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As a former county lawmaker, teacher, community planner, advocate and volunteer, Mamie Hughes has had a lasting impact on Kansas City. Today, we look at life of one of the metro's most dedicated activists.

Then, we meet the enthusiastic conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, and ask what it's been like leading "America's Orchestra" for more than 20 years.

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3

Ahead of the release of her new book of poetry, Striking the Black Snake​, local poet Monique Salazar joins us to share some of her personal journey, including her inspiring experience at Standing Rock, her heritage and memories of an abusive childhood.

Plus, Kansas City rap duo Ces Cru on their latest album "Catastrophic Event Specialists."


Missouri Auditor's Office

Today, bestselling author and political activist Francine Prose shares her thoughts on the importance of the written word. She says the First Amendment is under threat, and explains why what we write counts now more than ever. Then, we speak with Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who says certain executive payments the University of Missouri System awards break the law.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Protests are sweeping the nation. And people are showing up for all kinds of reasons, all across the country, including right here in Kansas City. 

We revisit some of our local rallies and movements to examine the culture of protest and place our current wave in historical context.