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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AAPI Heritage Month with Cafe Cà Phê: Travis Young

By Kelcie McKenney
Photos by Travis Young and Travis Carroll

For Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we teamed up with Catcall magazine to highlight the AAPI team members who make Kansas City’s first Vietnamese coffee shop Cafe Cà Phê possible. Read the intro here, and stick around this week to hear their stories.

What’s your title at Cafe Cà Phê?

Photographer

Where is your family’s country of origin? 

My parents are from Vietnam!

What brought you and/or your family to Kansas City?

My parents ended up in Garden City, KS, because there was work at a meatpacking plant. That’s where I was born. Then as I graduated high school I got a substantial scholarship from any in-state college so I used it to get me to KU in Lawrence, KS. After graduating there I moved to KC because it was the closest and biggest city population-wise that I had experienced at that point.

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AAPI Heritage Month with Cafe Cà Phê: Maddy Best

By Kelcie McKenney
Photos by Travis Young

For Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we teamed up with Catcall magazine to highlight the AAPI team members who make Kansas City’s first Vietnamese coffee shop Cafe Cà Phê possible. Read the intro here, and stick around this week to hear their stories.

What’s your title at Cafe Cà Phê?

Graphic Designer

Where is your family’s country of origin? 

My mom was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, and my dad’s family is all rooted in Missouri! 

What brought you and/or your family to Kansas City?

We originally came back to Missouri once my parents left the service. Mom worked in healthcare and dad joined the family woodworking business. After I graduated from UCM with my bachelor’s degree, I came to KC to work!

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AAPI Heritage Month with Cafe Cà Phê: Jessica Nguyen

By Kelcie McKenney
Photos by Travis Young

For Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we teamed up with Catcall magazine to highlight the AAPI team members who make Kansas City’s first Vietnamese coffee shop Cafe Cà Phê possible. Read the intro here, and stick around this week to hear their stories.

What’s your title at Cafe Cà Phê?

Graphic Designer

Where is your family’s country of origin? 

Vietnam

What brought you and/or your family to Kansas City?

My family immigrated from Vietnam to Missouri as refugees. I am actually moving to KC after I graduate from Mizzou.

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To be a woman takes guts

By Kelcie McKenney

This poem was first published in Tessellation, a poetry and photography zine with all proceeds benefiting Barrier Babes—a Kansas City nonprofit that strives to promote inclusive and unapologetic sexual health education. Read more about the project.

To be a woman takes guts
Guts that leave blood stains on silk dresses and middle school seats
Guts that spill when you share the name of your crush at a slumber party after too much mountain dew and nail polish remover
Guts that leave a cold stain down your thigh after one missed period

To be a woman takes guts
It’s standing up for yourself after the room has spent the whole meeting talking over you
It’s learning to walk back to your car with keys between your knuckles every night
Its wiping the mascara from under your eyes and telling the reflection you can be both soft and strong

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