Samantha's Corner - Celebration, Tragedy, and Lots of Events

With Pride month behind us, I look back with amazement at the number of activities that the community put together. We started the month with KC PrideFest and ended it with two Pride events on the last day of June – the Johnson County Pride Picnic and Northland Pride. Although representatives of Kansas City Center for Inclusion  couldn’t be everywhere, we did make it to 18 different events throughout June.

June can be bittersweet for me ever since the Pulse nightclub massacre happened in Florida in 2016. I spend time reflecting on the deaths of those 49 people and the hurt that the attack caused in our LGBT Latinx community.

Tragedy struck here at home when Brooklyn Lindsey, 32, a local transgender woman, was found slain on June 25 in Kansas City, Mo. She is the 11th black transgender woman killed in the United States this year.

The work done by the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project (KCAVP) was central to the community’s response to her death. It was also refreshing to see other organizations throw their support to KCAVP in the form of fundraising and following their lead on how best to respond.

This tragic killing occurred a few days after two positive local events: The first Kansas City Trans Pride March was June 22, and in late June, we heard that Kansas is changing its policy and allowing transgender people to update their birth certificates.

Since Pride Month ended, we’ve had a giant exhale with moments of self-care as we gear up for an eventful fall.

Here’s the latest news from our board of directors.

  • We are planning our first LGBTQ Job Fair from 2 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21. We have about 15 companies committed to being there, including Hallmark, Hollywood Casino, Garmin, Crum Cleaning, and Children’s Mercy Hospital. Please follow our event on Facebook and our website to learn more. This event is being hosted by University of Kansas Health System, and we have recently toured the space. A special thanks to our host for being so gracious.
  • We have also planned three business-related workshops. One, on interview skills, will be Aug. 8. Others, on building credit and social media marketing using LinkedIn, have already occurred.
  • This year at the Renaissance Festival, we are managing a couple of food establishments instead of helping with parking. At the White Stag, a sit-down restaurant, we will be providing service staff to wait on people and managing the Chicken & Chips booth. If interested in helping, please contact
  • Other events we will be a part of this fall include the NAGAA Gay Softball World Series (Sept. 2-7), the National Association of Asian American Professionals Convention and Gala (Aug. 22-24), the PFLAG National Convention (Oct. 25-27), and the Latino Arts Festival (Sept. 7), as well as planning for our fall programming and holiday fundraisers.

When you see me out and about, please take the time to say hello. Hearing stories about how the Center is making a difference and how we can do more brings me joy.

Samantha Ruggles is executive director of the Kansas City Center for Inclusion, 3911 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.





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