For the first time since 2013, The Journal, the Kansas Leadership Center’s civic issues magazine, hit the road for an event aimed at fostering community dialogue based on its coverage.
Journal Executive Editor Chris Green and members of KLC’s civic engagement traveled to Emporia on Wednesday to host a pop-up launch event at The Next Level, a downtown Emporia venue above Casa Ramos, a Mexican restaurant.
About 40 residents from Emporia, including local elected officials and members of Hispanics of Today and Tomorrow, attended the festivities. The event commemorated the publication of The Journal’s Fall 2022 edition and its cover story focused on the efforts of the Emporia Spanish Speakers, a group founded by LeLan Dains to make the community more welcoming to Spanish speakers and immigrants.
After a short welcome by Green and a meal, Maren Berblinger, a civic engagement manager at KLC, facilitated a conversation among the group about Emporia’s accomplishments bridging cultural and linguistic divides and what challenges it continues to face. Julian Montes, a KLC staff member, took photographs of the event for The Journal.
The discussion brought together individuals from across the community who hadn’t had a chance to be connected in the same room on this topic before, and some participants expressed hope that the group would remain connected.
While The Journal routinely conducts large-group discussion events, this is the first time it had done so since a discussion on southeast Kansas economic development in Pittsburg back in 2013, Green’s first edition as editor.
The Emporia Gazette covered the discussion for local readers and a reporter from KVOE, a local radio station, also conducted interviews.
The pop-up event in Emporia was the final discussion event of the year being hosted by The Journal. Over the past 12 months, in-person and online-discussion events associated with the magazine have drawn more than 800 live attendees and reached hundreds more through recordings.