Julee Jonez

Radio Personality, KPRS Hot 103 Jamz

Where were you born and raised?
Kansas City, Missouri.

What is your occupation?
Radio personality, KPRS Hot 103 Jamz.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
One of my favorite memories was a field trip to Exchange City when I was attended Dobbs Elementary. I was selected as City Manager. I lost my mayoral race by a few votes so the second highest position was the City Manager. I got to dress up and felt like a boss! I had a good 'salary' - underneath the mayor's, though.

What does Black History Month mean to you?
Due to the strides of my ancestors and current world changers, Black history is instrumental to my existence, backstory and opportunities. Black history is monumental, adding to the betterment of our world. Although February is when we commemorate the historical impact of Black Americans, we should always remember that Black History is American history. Every day. We must consistently strive to celebrate past and present Black History contributors outside of the month of February.

What do you believe is the most important issue currently facing the Black community?
The most important issue is structural racism, which impacts all aspects of our society. We see it's affect it in the criminal justice system, housing, income inequality, healthcare and educational disparities. In the era of COVID-19, systemic health and social inequities have Black communities at increased risk for deadlier outcomes, barriers to treatment and being turned away from hospitals due to medical/provider bias. Now, we're seeing the disparities for access to the COVID-19 vaccines impacting Black communities.

When did you realize you were Black in America and what has that meant for your life?
When I moved to Hickman Mills in 1979 and we were the first Black family on our block. The reactions were vast: sneers, jokes about my color, teenage boys yelling the n-word out of the back of pickup trucks, physical altercations my brother faced. The list and the memories go on. Although I made friends and life eventually became better, there were defining moments that showed me the ugliness and ignorance that resides in our world. I learned early racism is taught; not caught. It’s the hand-me-down that needs to be rid of.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration to push for change?
My biggest inspiration to push for change is creating a better world for my son and his future family. The people who inspire me the most are Black women such as Vice President Kamala Harris, Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, Missouri State Senator Barbara Anne Washington and Stacey Abrams. I am also inspired by the many local heroes such as Justice Gatson (Reale Justice Network) and Michele Watley (Shirley's Kitchen Cabinet) who courageously push for policy changes that contribute to equity for Black people, encourage civic engagement and amplify our voices.

How have you supported or contributed to the local Black community?
I love youth/young adults! I’ve been a part of various mentoring groups, symposiums and conferences that are youth-focused. In addition, I have worked with teens in drug prevention programming, organized prom outreach events for students in need, participated in a mentoring organization for first-generation (Black female) college students, and have been a partner with the Black Healthcare Coalition for maternal care campaigns and health screenings. As a station we’re always involved in community-focused efforts involving children, health/wellness initiatives, food and toy drives, as well as anti-violence efforts. I am also passionate about participating in voter outreach initiatives to encourage the Black community to use their political power. I am also committed to be a voice against social injustice.

Season of Hope Toy Drive