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Angel McGee

Manager of Communications and Outreach
Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy
Uncommon Voices 2020

Angee McGee

Angel McGee, manager, communication and outreach at the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy, says the events in 2020 have affected many of the families and youth that she works with at KCUYA. The COVID-19 pandemic forced staff at KCUYA to pause all in-person activities and transition to a virtual platform for some of their programs and camps. The KCUYA, Major League Baseball’s eighth academy, which sits just north of the National Negro League Baseball Museum in the heart of the 18th and Vine Jazz District, aims to empower youth – Major League Citizens – and build community through love of baseball. 

“That was probably the most difficult time not only for our staff, but for the families and youth we are always used to seeing on a weekly basis.”

Shortly after, McGee and her colleagues had to navigate through the aftermath of George Floyd’s death with their student athletes and deal with the heavy conversations centered around racial and social injustices.  

“We put all of these feelings into action and held several town hall discussions with our student-athletes, of all ages, to give them a platform to express their thoughts on the current events, with the intention of allowing them a safe space to ‘let it out’.”  

She says the ongoing effort at KCUYA is to continue to seek out new forms of programming to aid and assist the youth in Kansas City communities. 

Although this year has been one of the most challenging years to date, in my line of work, it has allowed for me to take a step back and reassess the priorities, especially with our kids. 

Q: What “new normals” – good or bad – do you see or anticipate coming out of this year?

We may never revert back to a “normal,” but I am hopeful that this year was able to shine light on a lot of areas within society: education reform, access to healthcare, social and racial injustice … the list goes on. We were forcibly paused to deal with many of these situations head on, but resiliency has helped many of us make it through. And through that, I hope we can better understand the realities, perspectives and experiences of those around us to propel us forward for a more equal and just society. 

Q: Has anything in the past year changed your mind on your view of the world?  

In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic opened my eyes to the disparities and inequalities within our education system. With the transition to virtual and hybrid learning models for numerous districts in our area, we were able to see just how disproportionate these models proved to be for districts. I have always held the utmost respect for teachers, educators, and school administration, but the pandemic proved that they ARE the essential workers and the foundation of society. This time also helped me to gain a better sense of purpose, to be grateful for things that we usually take for granted, and to love and appreciate those around me. 

Q: As we look for hope in the New Year, where do you see opportunities to rebuild society’s systems better?  

I hope that we take an in-depth look and approach to rebuilding areas including education, health care, law enforcement, resources and access for underserved communities, and more. My director always uses this slogan when addressing our staff and it’s simple – “better together.”  

Better for equality. Better for access. Better for acceptance. Better for opportunity. It takes ALL of us to build a better future and to create a better tomorrow for right now and generations to come. 

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