Samantha’s Corner – KCCI Job Fair Was a Hit, and So Was Sitting in the Buck O’Neil Seat

Samantha Ruggles sitting in the Buck O’Neill Legacy Seat at Pride Night on September 4.

October is LGBT History Month, and we at the Kansas City Center for Inclusion have been making history in 2019.  Earlier this year, we held the city’s first job fair for the LGBTQ+ community, with 30 companies and more than 175 job-seekers.

What I was most impressed with was how well-prepared everyone was. Folks were ready with resumes and dressed to impress. I even heard from one company that they hired one of the attendees just two days after the job fair. This will be an annual event as we gain traction in developing our economic empowerment programming.

History was also made during the Gay Softball World Series with the first-ever Pride Night at the Royals on Sept. 4.  Although there have been other “Out with the Royals” events, this was the first one sanctioned by the team.

On a personal note: I was honored by the opportunity to sit in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat. [O’Neil played for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues and later was a Major League Baseball coach.] It truly was an honor. It was also very humbling. When it was hinted that I might be in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat, my first thought was no, there are others more deserving. I took the time to think about it and what it would mean, not to me but to others.  I thought about that kid watching the game or even listening on the radio and what it might mean to them. Growing up in rural Kansas, what would that have meant to me as a youngster? Hopefully I changed someone’s life just by being present.

I also want to thank the folks who nominated me for this opportunity. The night was a bit of a blur. Words can’t describe the moment, but grateful, humble, proud, and honored are just a few that come to mind. Mostly, I had fun and took the whole thing in.

The last month has been one of our busiest as we continue to grow. However, the Renaissance Festival has taken its toll on me. On the weekends through Oct. 14, the Kansas City Center for Inclusion will be running the Chicken & Chip Booth and the White Stag Restaurant at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival in Bonner Springs. Long days followed by needing to rest are getting in the way of my community work. Please consider going to our website and signing up to volunteer as to lighten the load: www.inclusivekc.org/volunteer-with-kcci-at-renfest-2/

Samantha Ruggles is the executive director of the Kansas City Center for Inclusion.