Next week, KCPT joins with PBS in launching an unprecedented look at the astounding contributions women have made to the advancement of America with the broadcast premiere of the documentary series MAKERS: Women Who Make America.
The landmark multi-platform initiative co-produced by PBS And AOL chronicles the important advancements made by women over the past 50 years.
MAKERS: Women Who Make America premieres next Tuesday night at 7 p.m. on KCPT.
In the spirit of celebrating women and their contributions, KCPT invited you to nominate groundbreaking women who have sparked change in our community. The votes are in and this half hour on The Local Show, we introduce you to three inspiring women who have made a difference in our metro.
Our first local MAKER is Suzanne Gladney of Legal Aid of Western Missouri, who up until now, has not received much recognition for her work, but she has spent more than thirty years as a legal aid attorney assisting undocumented workers and migrant families in our Kansas city region. LAWMo clients are people who have nowhere else to turn, who without the legal assistance LAWMo can provide, would likely become homeless statistics or worse.
In 1978, frustrated that they couldn’t join business organizations and private clubs reserved for men only, a small group of women came together to form The Central Exchange. Today, The Central Exchange is celebrating its 35th year as the metro’s most prominent women’s advocacy and business networking organization. Nick spoke with the organization’s new President and Chief Executive CiCi Rojas.
Dodie Jacobi, an area entrepreneur, made the cut when we asked on our website, our KCPT magazine and on our social media pages Who should be celebrated on KCPT as a woman who made a difference in our metro? Dodie for decades, has been deeply involved in revitalizing Kansas City’s historic neighborhoods by promoting entrepreneurship and the development of small businesses in the Crossroads, the Westside, and Hyde Park.
Right now though, we profile our third local MAKER and it is a woman who repeatedly bumped and bumped against the glass ceiling before smashing through it. Our MAKER spent 30 years on the Kansas City Missouri police force and while you may not know her name or may have never heard her story, Ramona Arroyo is the first Hispanic woman to become a sergeant with the KCPD.
What is gratifying about these nominations are that these are not your usual suspects. We’re hearing about women who are making a difference…oftentimes away from the public eye. But there were more well known names among the nominations like former Mayors Kay Barnes and Carol Marinovich and former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius who is now, of course, Health Secretary in the Obama administration.
There were lots of worthy nominees, some we’ve already featured on The Local Show like Sister Berta Sailor who is doing remarkable work for the children served at Operation Breakthrough and Pastor Alice Piggee-Wallack who’s giving her life to the inner city homeless. There is also the work of local anti-bullying campaigner Sue-Ellen Fried. And then there’s Dr. Sharon Lee the medical doctor who claims a $14 an hour salary…the same as the janitor at her Southwest Boulevard Family Health Clinic. We profile her story on The Local Show on March 21st.