By Christina Terrell
My first encounter with Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin was at the Women’s Center 2019 “Persistent Muse: Women, Art and Activism” event. For this event the Women’s Center partnered with the Inter-Urban Art-House where a panel of influential Women, like Ruffin, spoke about how their artwork advocates for Women’s rights and issues.
During the panel event I found that Sonié’s presentation really spoke to me personally. She embodied a very vibrant and genuine personality. Sonié was not just lecturing and telling us about her background and career but she was putting emotion, humor while sharing a story with the audience that really connected all she has done for women’s activism too her audience.
Another aspect that drew me to Sonie’s story was that along with the fact that she is a renowned contemporary fabric artist, author, lecturer and independent curator, she has also conducted workshops and lectures on African-American quilting.
Ruffin’s extraordinary textile work has been displayed in numerous museums, art exhibits and galleries internationally. However, one place that her quilts have been displayed that really hits home for me would have to be that her very first art exhibit was displayed right here in Kansas City and more importantly, at UMKC African American Culture House .
Sonié has been a-part of many influential events, but to imagine that to this day she loves to come back to where her activism journey all started. She is honored every time she comes to educate and advocate here at UMKC and share her story with young women like me. She has inspired myself and others to explore their artistic side and I commend her because you never know where or when your women’s activism journey will start.
By Mirella Flores
Honorable Lisa White Hardwick is a Kansas City native. She received her Bachelor’s from the University of Missouri- Columbia in 1982 and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1985.
Upon graduation, Hardwick joined the Shook, Hardy & Bacon, a U.S. private law firm based in Kansas City and the 87th largest in the U.S. (according to The National Law Journal, 2012). Hardwick was a partner at this firm from 1992 to 2000. During this same time, Hardwick also served on the Jackson County Legislature.
In 2001, Hardwick was appointed as a judge of the Jackson County 16th Circuit Court, where she served from January 2001 to May 2011. Hardwick left this position because she was appointed as a judge on then Missouri Court of Appeals Western District. The Missouri Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court for the state of Missouri, which means it is an intermediate step between the trial courts and the courts of last resort in the state. The Western District Court of Appeals is the state’s largest intermediate appellate court. This court usually handles around 40% of the appellate caseload in Missouri. Hardwick retrained this position at the 2002 general election, and again at the 2014 general election. We can expect the Honorable Lisa White Hardwick to maintain her position in the Missouri Court of Appeals until 2026.
The results from the 2010 Census showed an increase in population and regional shifts within Missouri. This meant the state legislative map needed to be reconfigured. At first, bipartisan citizens appointed to this task. Upon them failing to reach agreement, Hardwick and five other appellate court judges were appointed by the Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission to reconfigure Missouri’s state legislative map within 90-days. Under Hardwick’s leadership as the Commission Chair, they proposed a redistricting plan for the Senate and for the House. The changes were not welcomed, as the new district boundaries would change the complexion in Southern Missouri. The Commission’s Senate redistricting plan was struck down in court, and it was also determined that the Commission lacked the authority to draw a second map. A new commission was convened to make a second attempt. The new commission issued a final state Senate district map on March 12, 2012.
Hardwick’s public service efforts have not gone unnoticed. Some of Hardwick’s honors include receiving the 40 Under 40 Award by Ingram’s Magazine and the Up and Comers Award from the Kansas City Business Journal.