Hosts of The JerseyGirls Podcast On Sexism in Sports, Women’s Rights

By Erin Gabriel

Austen Hilt and Paige Feikert have a long history of bonding over sports. The two friends grew up playing softball together, and now the pair is hosting a podcast elevating women’s sports and advocating for an even playing field for all genders.

The podcast, JerseyGirls, @jerseygirlsict on Instagram, was inspired after Hilt and Feikert started conversing about the lack of coverage for the women’s NCAA basketball tournament coupled with the observation that Wichita State University’s Women’s Softball team was having an amazing season, yet producing very small crowds at games. 

With loads of experience in sports, Hilt—a former collegiate softball player who also played volleyball, basketball, and golf and has coached a variety of girl’s softball teams—and Feikert—also a former collegiate soccer player who also played softball and is a former sports journalist—use their air time to discuss topics such as coverage of women’s sports, how sports can power successful careers, life lessons from a NCAA Division 1 Athlete attending an HBCU, and more.

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Brenda Howard—The bisexual activist you need to know

By Nicole Mitchell

“The next time someone asks you why LGBT Pride marches exist or why Gay Pride Month is June tell them, ‘A bisexual woman named Brenda Howard thought it should be.’” — Brenda Howard

While it’s true that the first pride was a riot, many credit bisexual and LGBTQIA+ Activist Brenda Howard for continuing the fight and making June officially known as Pride Month—therefore awarding her the name of “Mother of Pride.”

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Author Alice Faye Duncan Reflects on Activist Opal Lee, Meaning of Juneteenth

By Sophie Oswald

In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the South, but the decree wasn’t fully enacted until two years later on June 19, 1865, when news reached enslaved people in Texas that they were free. 

Since, June 19, or Juneteenth, has marked celebrations of the end of slavery, but it wasn’t until last year that Juneteenth became a federal holiday through a bill signed by President Joe Biden. One of the people in the room that day was Opal Lee, the focus of Alice Faye Duncan’s newest children’s book, Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free. 

Opal Lee, also known as the “grandmother of Juneteenth,” played a key role in making Juneteenth a federally-recognized holiday.

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How Photographer Jada Hester started her photography business

By Nicole Mitchell

Jada Hester is a photographer and small business co-owner of Film and Jpegs Studio located in Olathe, Kansas. Starting early on in photography, she has had plenty of time to create a style of art that is recognizable as hers—colorful, fun, and human-centered

Hester first got into photography when she was a child, following in her dad’s footsteps. “He had a cool camera when I was kid that I would play with,” she said. But it wasn’t until high school that she really considered photography as a potential career path. After graduating high school, she went to a local community college and took her first photography class. “It was fun to be around other photographers, but the class wasn’t 100% needed,” Hester said. “I thought, ‘Why didn’t I just teach myself all of this?’”

During the beginning of the pandemic, Hester and her boyfriend talked about creating a studio out of a shed in the backyard of her boyfriend’s parents’ house. With this, the two started a small business together (her boyfriend’s idea), offering Hester’s photography as a side job. “He’s more on the business side, and I’m on the art side,” she said. “Working together has been tough—as it would be in any relationship where they work together—but I’m really proud of it.” She shares that getting the shed started and creating their business together is what she’s most proud of in regards to her art.

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Cassie Taylor joins the music scene after years away from the spotlight

By Nicole Mitchell

Cassie Taylor has been a musician for all of her life—touring as a bassist with her father, Otis Taylor, from when she was 16. Stepping away from the spotlight in 2015 after the birth of her child, Taylor spent her time creating in other ways. She’s currently a full-time photographer and creative in Kansas City. But this weekend, March 5 and 6, she’ll be stepping on the stage once again.

Taylor has been working on new music for the past few years. Compared to her older music—such as her 2013 album Out Of My Mind—her music now is quite different. “When I produced my album in 2012, it was a product of the industry at the time,” she said. “The way that you made albums was to tour them. I really stripped them down and focused on the core. Production-wise it’s a lot different.” 

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