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The Politics of Gen Z

Jointly offered by the KC Media Collective member organizations
6:00 PM
UMKC, Pierson Auditorium

The Politics of Gen Z

6:00 PM
UMKC, Pierson Auditorium

According to the Pew Research Center, Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) the most racially and ethnically diverse generation is on track to be the most well-educated generation. From racial equity to climate change, Generation Z’s views could have a big impact on the future of our nation’s political landscape. With this generation making up at least one tenth of the electorate, what motivates some Gen Z-ers to be politically active while others choose a different path to civic engagement?

Join the Kansas City Media Collective on October 25th as we explore the political engagement of Generation Z! This is the second event in our series of community conversations that seek to bring journalism and community together.

Program Panelists


Celisa Calacal is currently the Missouri government and politics reporter for KCUR 89.3, where she reports on local government with a focus on housing, development, infrastructure and accountability. Previously, Celisa reported for The Kansas City Beacon. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, and moved to Kansas City in 2018.

Timothy Tasler

Roving Reporter

Timothy Tasler is currently a Senior at Park Hill South. He is involved in their Young Democrats and Young Republican clubs and is the president of the Park Hill South debate team. After high school he plans to study economics and political science. In his free time, he enjoys running, playing tennis, and playing piano. Timothy is very excited to join the team at APS!

Recently, we asked Timmy about his unusual involvement in both the Young Democrats and Young Republicans groups. He said, that originally, he was a member of only Young Democrats but, had a friend invite him to attend a meeting of the Young Republicans. “I was a fan of the teacher who runs Young Republicans so I went and was rather intrigued. I found the new opinions and views of the Young Republicans to be refreshing and stimulating rather than alienating, and I enjoyed comparing each group’s perspectives against one another’s. Being able to hear and consider divergent ideas gave me a deeper understanding of each side and helped sort out and round out my own political ideology.“


Nasir Montalvo is a Staff Writer for the Kansas City Defender––where their focus is writing a series on Black, Queer Kansas City histories in collaboration with organizations like the Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America at UMKC. Montalvo is also the current Marketing Manager for Startland Education––an organization dedicated to radically redesigning the education system through human-centered design. Before the Defender, Montalvo was deeply involved in campus organizing at their university, and worked at GLAAD as a Youth Engagement Intern and Ambassador to help mobilize queer college students across the nation.

Montalvo was born and raised in Kissimmee, Florida and is a Class of 2021 alumnus from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ.


Donnavan Dillon is a Lawrence based community organizer with Loud Light who focuses on building youth civic power during and outside of election season. With Loud Light, he’s helped lead a variety of campaigns including the student power campaign to get polling sites on college campuses.


Komalpreet Kaur is the founder of Eye of An Immigrant, a 501(3)(3) non-profit organization committed to sharing the stories of the immigrant journey and to providing resources and funds for immigrants to gain a legal pathway to citizenship.

Kaur is a freshman at the University of Kansas majoring in Political Science and minoring in Intelligence and National Security Studies on the pre-law track in the Honors program.

Before starting college, Kaur was deeply involved in youth activism and involvement in local government. She served as the two-time co-chair of the Olathe Teen Council and interned in the City Manager’s Office at the City of Olathe her senior year.

Kaur’s family immigrated from Punjab, India to the United States in the late 1980s. She was born and raised in Queens, New York and moved to Olathe, Kansas in 2017.


Ryan Kempton is a senior at Park Hill South High School. Ryan moved from St. Joseph to Kansas City in the sixth grade and has lived here since. He is currently a National Merit semifinalist and has received a perfect ACT score. Ryan also plays tennis for Park Hill South and is currently interested in medicine, law, business, and politics.


Jacob Zink is a fifth-year International Relations Major, Pryor Leadership Fellow, and Alumni Brother of Lambda Chi Alpha at William Jewell College. Through the Pryor Leadership program, he interned with Veterans Community Project and helped lead the renovation of Warrior’s Best Friend’s service dog training and play yard as part of his cohort’s senior legacy project. As a Lambda Chi, Jacob worked with industry professionals to create the fraternity’s new, online education and personal development program called “Ideal Man” that launched this summer. It is now being utilized across chapters in the United States and Canada by hundreds of undergraduate members. Jacob is also a security professional currently contracted with Microsoft.

About the KC Media Collective

The KC Media Collective Mission: “The KC Media Collective is a group of nonprofit and community-centered partners collaborating to make local news easily available, its coverage equitable and its operations sustainable. We will do this by deepening our understanding of the people who make up our region, reducing barriers to access and earning trust.”

The KC Media Collective is committed to efforts that emphasize mutual understanding and empathy within communities. We work towards a day when people have access to trusted news, and communities benefit through greater civic engagement. Breaking systemic barriers to news access, including poverty, language barriers, disabilities and educational inequity, will unleash the potential of our communities. Likewise, the sustainability of local news is central to the connectivity and success of the Kansas City region and each individual who calls it home.

This event is hosted by the KC Media Collective. Members of the KC Media Collective Include:

The KC Media Collective initiative was made possible with support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.