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The Race Project KC Student Symposium is a day-long event that provides high school students with the opportunity to explore racism – it’s effects and potential solutions - using their minds, their hearts and their feet. Students from diverse schools and experiences will come together to reflect on Kansas City’s racial history, discuss racial equity and explore their own agency as they interact with local community change agents.
The 2019 event features best-selling authors:
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me, The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power) is the distinguished writer in residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and winner of the 2015 National Book Award.
  • Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming, Harbor Me, Each Kindness, and more) is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and winner of many awards including the 2014 National Book Award and the Coretta Scott King Award.
  • Tanner Colby’s book, Some of My Best Friends Are Black, The Strange Story of Integration in America was nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Non-fiction. He has been working with Race Project KC since its inception and his book is an important part of the students’ education about the history of race in Kansas City, and in America, since the Civil Rights Movement.

Session Registration
Please register for sessions you would like to attend by Sunday, April 21 and avoid signing up for the same session twice in a row. If you are not registered on that date, you will be randomly assigned workshops for the day. (So pick them yourself and have way more fun!)


Photo Disclaimer: The Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center is a public building, by attending this event you agree that your image may be used for promotional purposes by Johnson County Library, Johnson County Parks and Recreation and their partners.

Johnson County Library and its board members, officers and employees may disclaim any responsibility for the content of workshops offered by third party facilitators; they are not an expression of Library policy.
avatar for Merrique Jenson

Merrique Jenson

Merrique Jenson (she/her) is a queer and trans, multiracial anti-violence advocate and artist of color. For the past 17 years, she has worked closely with street-based youth, communities of color, and LGBTQ people in the fields of youth programming, anti-violence advocacy and community empowerment.
She is the Director of SocialScope Productions, a consulting and coaching company focused on LGBTQ multimedia projects, community storytelling, and building innovative, equity program design models and professional development trainings, which most recently headlined Seattle Pride in 2017 & 2018. Merrique currently serves both as the Program Director for Transformations, a KC trans and gender-expansive youth group for those 12-18 years old and the Producer for the #GetWoke event series, focused on uplifting and affirming queer and trans communities of color.
In 2015, Merrique was appointed as the lead advocate to help loved ones and their communities cope and heal from 3 LGBTQ homicides in Kansas City and working with the FBI on hate crime investigations. In response to this communal trauma in Kansas City, she helped build resiliency based programs, including the 2015 KC Real Talk: LGBTQ Conversations for Change video and town hall series and the 2016 KC TGNC Summit: building a leadership fountain for TGNC youth and TGNC people of color.
She previously worked as the Manager of Youth Services for the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, providing multi-state advocacy directly to LGBTQ youth affected by trauma and violence, as well as the LGBTQ Youth Advocate at Safe Connections in St. Louis, helping build the first regional LGBTQ youth anti-violence program.
Merrique is a published writer and her inter-sectional projects have received national awards, specifically with her leadership work with young people, homeless and vulnerable youth,  and racial justice advocacy, addressing the juvenile legal system and media's impact on queer lives. She has keynoted Yale University's Pride Month series in 2016, Sexual Assault Awareness Month for the University of Iowa in 2015, as well as, Take Back the Night at Southern Oregon University in 2015. Merrique was featured on The Oprah Show in 2006.