Stephen Linkous

Chief of Staff with the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Ft. Knox, Kentucky and grew up in the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado.

What is your family heritage?
My family is of Mexican descent.

What is your occupation?
I am Currently the Chief of Staff with the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools.

How have you supported or contributed to the local Hispanic/Latinx community?
I am currently a board member with the Latinx Education Collaborative. In starting as a new board member, I will be working with the group to look at how to partner with school districts to recruit and retain Latino/a educators. I also am involved with the Greater Hispanic Chamber of Kansas City and worked with our district to become active members. My biggest contributions has been working within the district and getting out information in Spanish on Univision to ensure that members of our community who are Spanish dominant, can find pertinent information that can assist them in the educational process of their children.

How do you connect with your Hispanic/Latinx culture?
Before COVID this was much easier as I was able to physically attend events like the Zoot Suit Festival and El Dia de los Muertos Parade. I also love listening to Cumbias, Bachata and other forms of Latin music that moves the body and the soul. Lastly, I look for Mexican and other Latino restaurants where my taste buds will be taken to food heaven.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
I always think back to family gatherings or birthday parties where one of my great aunt's would be singing cielito lindo with mariachis as we were eating freshly made tortillas and hearing the conversations flow between English and Spanish. I can still see my aunt's backyard and garage area where we would all sit and gather while we enjoyed these family get togethers.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
The month means a great deal to me. I think back to the fact that my grandparents were migrant workers and traveled this country working on different farms in different states before settling in Colorado. It makes me reflect about the opportunities that previous generations didn't have, but do to their struggle and hard work, we have today. Lastly, it reminds me that we have always positively contributed to the United States and that we will continue to positively influence future generations of Latinos to make even greater contributions.

In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing the Hispanic/Latinx community?
I always look at this from the lens of opportunity/access. We as Latinos are known for our work ethic and willingness to do extra to make sure things are done at a high level. For far too long, much of our population have been in situations where opportunity and/or access is not always available in the various aspects of life. Because of this, we need to work to make sure that opportunity/access becomes more readily available in predominantly Latino communities so that we can become the next group of directors, executives and CEO's of organizations. It is imperative that we understand that providing this opportunity/access, through both traditional and non-traditional educational opportunities, will help us ensure that we continue our economic and social climb as a community. This opportunity/access will assist us in rectifying many of the issues we confront on a daily basis as a community as well as providing us the opportunity to fulfill our unlimited potential as a community.

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