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Put a (6.6 Million Dollar) Ring on It

man-and-woman-talking-on-couch.jpgSHAWNEE, Kan. - After hearing talk about a faith based marriage initiative in Kansas, I can't help but wonder if perhaps Beyonce's "Single Ladies" is stuck on repeat on Governor Brownback's iPod.

Sitting comfortably in one of the many rooms at Cedar Crest mansion, the married father (our Governor) thinks he can curb child poverty and crime rates by encouraging single parents to get or stay married. While I want to believe his intentions are pure, his actions once again show how out of tune he is with us, the common folk.

Obviously, this man does not truly grasp the reality of our lives and the problems that single parents face.

With a baby on my hip, and lacking a college degree, I was 24 years old when I walked away from the unhealthy nightmare that was my marriage.

SHAWNEE, Kan. - The modern day peanut gallery has found its' home in the comments section of online media. Common guidance is to avoid the unsolicited commentary, and the cruelty that can come with it.

While I understand such advice, I don't generally follow it.

Sometimes, I wish I would.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - The Johnson County NAACP is bringing together local politicians and activists to address some of the political and social issues at the forefront of society.

Host of KCUR's Central Standard show, Jabulani Leffall, will moderate "The NAACP in the 21st Century: A Diverse Perspective."

This forum will give community leaders an opportunity to critically explore current issues. It will be held from 1 to 3 PM on Saturday, July 30th at the West Wyandotte Branch of the Kansas City Kansas Public Library (1737 N 82nd Street, KCK).

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Earlier this week, over 600 Lawrence residents convened in a local church to voice their concerns about the pending closure of the local Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) office.

A sense of anger and anxiety filled the room as people wondered what would happen to their families, students, clients, or neighbors. All of the frustration and rage that resonated in the overflowing sanctuary seemed to stem from a community's deep compassion for its citizens.

Those in attendance claimed that among individuals directly affected by the closure of the SRS offices are employees who cannot afford to relocate, children, the disabled, law enforcement, battered women, the impoverished, and the elderly.

One woman in Lawrence said that she read comments from Brownback-appointed SRS Secretary, Robert Siedlecki. He had compared the difficult decision to close 9 SRS offices to deciding which child a family should sacrifice.

That woman, Kathleen McGee, faulted the Brownback-administration's analogy ...

WICHITA, Kan. - I was at work when my mother called me to tell me that someone had shot Dr. Tiller. That call momentarily paralyzed me with a peculiar shock. I knew this tragedy was a possibility, but I never fathomed it would become a reality. As I put down the phone, my young co-worker asked what was wrong. I told her the horrifying news about George Tiller. She asked me who he was, and I told her that he was the abortion doctor in Wichita.

The Politics of My Uterus

TOPEKA, Kan. - Dare I say it? Uterus. According to the Florida assembly, it's a four letter word.

Across the nation, the word (and the body part) has increasingly been made the government's business. Recently, it's the Kansas government's claim to ownership of my baby making parts that makes me livid. This year alone, our state saw it fit to introduce several abortion related bills.

Flexing the Feminist Muscle

SHAWNEE, Kan. - Fighting for women's rights, particularly the right to choose, can be a lot of fun in Kansas. It's something that all of us bra burning, non leg shaving women love to do. In fact, it was just recently that the 'femi-nazis' in the state gathered together. It was a great time. We practiced witchcraft, played with our Ouiji boards, and talked about how we could use "Obamacare" to euthanize our great grandparents. We adjourned for a short pillow fight, and then discussed evil penises over tea. After it was over, we drew sticks to see who would get to be on the front lines for our causes this year. The winner, of course, would get to be called "baby killer" the most over the next legislative session.

You can only imagine the excitement felt by the one who is left holding the coveted longest stick (no pun intended, of course). This sounds like fun, right?

To be a feminist in Kansas requires a "thick skin" (although a sense of humor also helps). That extra layer of "toughness" is needed to deal with the stereotypes that are projected upon us. Often, it's not much short of a battle to deal with the absurdities thrown at us. There is always a counter to our cause.

Where Has "Pink" Gotten Us?

SHAWNEE, Kan. - Sunday's edition of a local paper was tainted pink. The paper was not alone in color. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I've seen displays of pink water bottles, pink soaps, pink duct tape, pink towels, pink fountains, pink chairs, etc. What is the purpose of this? What has "pink" ever solved? Nothing. Frankly, I'm sick of seeing so much pink. I'm ready to see a cure. While I don't have anything against pink (it makes a great color for nail polish), I fail to see its relevance to breast cancer.

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Thursday night, about 250 people from Lawrence and surrounding areas are expected to converge on South Park at 12th and Massachusetts Streets. In gathering, they will share a common goal - to Take Back the Night.

Take Back the Night is an international movement that aims to eradicate domestic violence and sexual assault through awareness, education, and activism. The movement began in Philadelphia, PA in October of 1975. Original organizers of the first march came together because they were outraged that a young woman was murdered while walking only blocks from her home.

Standing Up For Our Future

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For some people, it's easy to give up on the younger generations. Honestly, after working with the "at risk" teenage population, I can see why people don't like to stick around for that proverbial long haul. It's difficult to love a kid through their rage and pain, or to consistently provide for someone else's kid when that child fails to show any sign of gratitude. In fact, some of the kids will do everything they can think of to show you that they don't need your help.

They don't want to be classified as "needy," but they will take everything that you can give while they call you every name in the book (and they will even invent some names that you've never before heard). Obviously, walking away from these kids is the easy thing to do. However, I simply do not accept it as the right thing to do. Neither does a local chapter of a national organization. The Kansas City chapter of Stand Up For Kids has proven time and again that they aren't afraid to do what's right by these children.

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