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Us, getting by

Voices and portraits from workers getting by in KC

Adjunct Professor Naomi Beeman. Photography by Lara Shipley/Flatland
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As the debate over a better living wage for Kanas City residents continues to be an ongoing conversation, and with the KCMO city council addressing the issue in today’s council meeting, reporter Daniel Boothe and photographer Lara Shipley present portraits and voices from KC workers, as part of Flatland’s “Getting By” project exploring the impact of economic, educational and health disparities in KC.

L. Stephen Barbee: ‘Take the towel, and wipe your brow.’

L. Stephen Barbee is a pastor and program coordinator for Metro Lutheran Ministries, an outreach program dedicated to serving low-income families. Using his own past as a template for his ministry, Barbee’s main goal is empowering the underprivileged to see their value and purpose.

Naomi Beeman: ‘Over-educated and under-paid’

Naomi Beeman is a Yale graduate, and adjunct professor for the Kansas City Art Institute and Park University. She received her Ph.D. from Emory University, and is struggling to find a full-time position anywhere in the country.

Melinda Robinson: ‘Step in my shoes for one day.’

Melinda Robinson is one of the leading voices and original members of StandUp KC. Robinson is a married mother of six, a stage four cancer survivor, and fast food worker.

Dana Whiitman: ‘Pretending my life is a joy’

Dana Wiitman is a strong advocate for raising the minimum wage in Kansas City. She currently works at Subway, and says she has been homeless since her son committed suicide in her home.

Bob Linebarger: ‘I’m talented at being poor.’

Bob Linebarger is an actor, director and playwright in Kansas City, who says growing up poor has given him the skills to survive an artist’s life.

Watch for more stories and photography from Daniel Boothe and photographer Lara Shipley, featuring portraits of Kansas City workers getting by. 

KCPT and the Hale Center for Journalism present “Getting By,” a series of stories and discussions examining the impact of inequality in KC, at kcpt.org/gettingby. How do you ‘get by’ in KC? You can join our discussion, here.

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