Kansas Citizens Shape the Future of Community Information
The Kansas City Beacon Community Engagement Office is a journalism lab reinventing local media. We do this by equipping people with skills and resources, engaging in critical public conversations, and producing information that directly meets people’s needs.
Our ultimate goal is to empower communities with the tools to eliminate information inequities.
Meet our Community Engagement Office Manager
GARY ENRIQUE BRADLEY-LOPEZ is the Kansas City Beacon’s Community Engagement Office Manager. Previously, Gary worked as the Director of Communications and Outreach as well as a Community Organizer for two local non-profit organizations that serve the greater Kansas City area. Gary earned a Masters of Professional Studies in Organizational Leadership from Fort Hays State University and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Development. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing plays, and making people laugh through stand-up comedy or just being there.
Kansas City Beacon Community Advisory Board
Beacon’s Community Advisory Board plays a vital role in advising the organization on focusing on improving our journalism, reaching underserved audiences and improving our public service to the community.
Community input is essential to our success. The Advisory Board is made up of a cross-section of volunteer members who live and work in the Kansas City area and advises The Beacon staff on matters of interest to the wider community and provides input to inform decisions about our journalism. Details here.
A network of community representatives
ANITA EASTER WOOD is a professional painter and muralist, drawing since childhood. Originally from Wyandotte County, she is passionate about service and enjoys giving back and advocating for her community.
INAS YOUNIS resides in Johnson County, KS, and is a freelance journalist, playwright, and published author of three children’s books featuring children from different faith minorities. She is a mother of two disabled adult children and is a disability activist.
IRA BOYDSTON is a native of Kansas City, MO, and former candidate for the Central School District Board of Trustees with a deep desire to see conversations happen in communities to ensure access to needed resources.
YAZMIN VALEZ is heavily involved in community organizing. As a queer Latinx woman in the Kansas City metro area, she would like to use news and information as a tool to expose the roles played in advancing social issues.
BEN KEFE, a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, hopes to help working-class individuals find their voice. For over a decade he has coached and programmed recreational sports in Northland.
ADRIANA PAEZ is a Mexican-American social worker, educator, mother, and activist from Lee’s Summit, MO. She champions civic education that encourages young people to participate, build their power, and sit at the decision-making tables where the outcomes directly affect them.
MIGUEL MUNOZ, a graduate of the Sumner Academy of Arts & Science in Kansas City, KS, has always been interested in giving back to his community. He says his dream is to make his community a better and safer place.
ESTRELLA GONZALEZ is excited to grow her journalism experience and knowledge while connecting with underserved communities. Since arriving in Kansas City, she has been connected with organizations that move communities forward.
EDEN BARNES grew up with continued community interaction and engagement, having been raised in the AME Church in Kansas City, KS. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she hopes to expand community education and ensure her community is informed and resourced to thrive.
Office of Community Engagement Values
The Kansas City Beacon’s vision for community engagement is ambitious. Here are some of the values you will see reflected in future work.
Traditional media metrics (clicks and page views) don’t tell the whole story. Our engagement work centers positive change in our community as the most important impact.
Our paid community representatives will scout neighborhoods, conduct interviews and organize gatherings to foster community understanding.
Reinforcement of information
The Office of Community Engagement’s listening efforts bring out story tips, neighborhood concerns, good news and issues that go straight to our newsroom so we can see where our attention is most needed. .
Address the real issues
Networking with reporters, neighborhood groups and community services, community representatives can help the newsroom find answers, publish information and relay responses to the community.
As we learn about news preferences and accessibility barriers, we will develop the necessary materials – eg audio recordings, social media posts, flyers – to distribute to people who need information.