Donna Ziegenhorn, author of “The Hindu and the Cowboy,” a play inspired by stories from Kansas Citians of numerous faith and cultural traditions, writes: We face a long walk in understanding Islam. But it’s a walk that’s needed for a 21st century in which the positive, humanistic threads of all our world’s religious (and nonreligious) traditions can be known and valued.
Thomas E. Perez, the U.S. secretary of labor, writes: As we mark Martin Luther King’s 86th birthday, it is my hope that Americans will remember a less celebrated element of his dream — a belief in the importance of unions, labor rights and robust worker voice.
Democratic Rep. Louis Ruiz of Kansas City, Kan., who has been serving in the Kansas House since 2005, writes: The Latino/Hispanic electorate has been referred to as a “sleeping giant.” This last November, the giant opened an eye, took another sleeping pill, rolled over and fell back asleep. What do we do and where do we go now?
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s destructive path, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and The Rockefeller Foundation found a silver lining. We asked the question: What if we focused on planning and preparing as much as we do on disaster reaction and response?
Robert Stewart, the editor of New Letters, the literary magazine published at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the director of the Midwest Poets Series at Rockhurst University, writes that Williams, the poet, teacher and editor who died Jamn. 1 in Fayetteville, Ark., also looms large in the literary life of Kansas City.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas writes: We know Washington regulations don’t create jobs. If we truly want to expand the earning power of American workers, we must encourage investment to grow our economy. That starts with protecting us from the central planners in Washington who continue to stifle lending.
Dwayne Crompton, board chairman of the Kansas City Freedom Schools Initiative, writes: No task, in my opinion, could be more important than preparing toddlers to learn. All Kansas Citians should step up and join the effort to expand and enhance early childhood education.
Yordano Ventura quit school at 14 and was working construction until his big break: a tryout that led to a spot in the Kansas City Royals’ academy in the Dominican Republic. But even after making the major leagues and pitching in the World Series, Ventura wouldn’t live anywhere else than Las Terrenas, his hometown, where he trained on the beach and swam in the ocean.
Nancy Zurbuchen, co-founder of the Kansas City Council of Women Business Owners and president of Motional Multimedia, writes: Females need to see successful role models at all levels of the tech industry and the pipeline that feeds into it.
Jim White, who has long been involved in housing and community issues in Kansas City, writes: The Rev. Norman Rotert lived his life as a warrior for justice. Beginning with his 1965 trip to Selma, Ala., to walk with the Rev. Martin Luther King seeking voting rights and the end of Jim Crow racism, Father Rotert, who died Dec. 17, never backed away from a just fight or a difficult assignment.
Jim Strahle, a civilian in the Kansas City Police Department’s media relations office until his retirement last year, writes: A comment quoted by followers of the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice was officers only gave him a two-second warning before firing their weapons. However, one obvious question comes to mind: How long does it take a person holding a pistol in his hand to point it at an officer?
Robert Minor of Kansas City, chair of the Kansas City Workers’ Rights Board of Missouri Jobs with Justice and emeritus professor of religious studies at the University of Kansas, writes: We call upon Missouri administrators and the General Assembly to reverse all staff cuts to the Family Support Division and take necessary steps to ensure that Missourians in need always have the ability to see a caseworker face to face to share their unique circumstances.
Anne Foster, a Kansas City native who worked at an international nonprofit based in Kansas City and volunteered with many local nonprofits, writes: We donors are often frustrated to learn that half of our donation — or less — goes to the “cause” and the rest goes toward the organization’s advertising, fundraising or administration costs.
Andrew B. Wilson, a resident fellow and senior writer at the Show-Me Institute, writes: A surprised and outraged Franklin D. Roosevelt called it “a date which will live in infamy.” But Dec. 7, 1941, may also be remembered as one of the great turning points (for the better) in world history.
“As Missouri residents, we need to be on guard for the next attempt to take over our schools,” writes ames Wrolstad, who has been a professional educator for more than 30 years. “Support our teachers and school boards — not misguided multimillionaires — and let them do education reform.”
Benjamin Corn, a professor of oncology at Tel Aviv University Medical Center and the founder of the organization Life’s Door, writes of Rabbi Kalman Levine, who was killed Nov. 18 in an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue complex: Until the end, Kalman had the strength of spirit to stand for his values in the face of peer pressure and even fatal danger.
"Immigration reform is a difficult but necessary issue, and from here Obama and Congress must get beyond the rancor and solve the problem permanently," writes Greg Orman, who, as an independent candidate, unsuccessfully challenged Republican incumbent Pat Roberts for U.S. Senate in Kansas.
Elizabeth Alex, a traveler, storyteller and speaker with Unbound, an international humanitarian organization, writes: For 2.5 billion people packed into the poorest places on Earth, “restrooms” are train tracks, gutters, waterways or patches of grass. There is nothing restful about it. The United Nations has designated Nov. 19 as World Toilet Day.
Mariner Kemper, the chairman and CEO of UMB Financial Corp. and the chairman of the American Royal Association, writes: "Kansas City and the American Royal have a tremendous opportunity to embrace our past and look to the future by supporting the mission of the American Royal. But we can’t do that as a community without a long-term vision and a plan."
“Kansas stood up and said enough,” Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, writes of last week’s midterm elections, in which he won another term in the U.S. Senate. “Enough of the status quo, enough of the gridlock, enough of the president’s ‘pen and phone,’ enough of the autocratic and unconstitutional march toward a bigger, more intrusive federal government.”
Jared Weese, a senior at Park University majoring in economics who lives in Sugar Creek, Mo., writes: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s refusal to release $12 million in need-based financial aid has further hurt students of military and working families who already were struggling to achieve a college degree.
Michael Hagedorn, the chairman of the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the president and CEO of UMB Bank, writes: “At a time when it was easier to develop suburban green fields, Phil Kirk turned his attention to the seemingly insurmountable task of rebuilding the city center. He spoke of cities and their buildings as having souls. To him, their decline was a tragedy that needed to be righted.”
Missouri Rep. Chris Kelly of Columbia, who serves House District 45, writes: “Amendment 10 on the November ballot is an effort to fix something that is not broken. And fixing matters of political opinion with constitutional amendments is a bad idea.”