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  • Aubin Skipper, Special to the Journal

Opinion: My open letter to Mayor Eric Adams of New York City

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

September 27, 2022

Mayor Eric Adams City Hall

New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor Adams:

“Kansas doesn’t have a brand.” I had an hour’s drive on the way to my daughter’s volleyball game to ponder your quote (our rural schools have to travel miles to play another team). As I drove, I passed farms, cropland and small towns. I passed the exit to the livestock breeder who we buy our show lambs from each year for the county fair. I thought of memories of my childhood growing up in Kansas. Mostly I wondered if there was any truth to your statement.

The answer is a resounding NO.

Kansas isn’t New York City. We don’t have your brand. And isn’t that the way it should be? If we had NYC’s brand, wouldn’t that negate the diversity you spoke of? Each family, town, city, county and state is made up of unique and diverse people who make up our great Nation. Kansas AND New York City have much to offer visitors who desire to set foot on new soil and learn their story. In 1861, Kansans voted to be anti-slavery and Kansas entered the Union as a free state, speaking loudly that there is a place for everyone here.

The article, “What is A Brand” by Brian Lischer states, “ A brand is the way a product, company, or individual is perceived by those who experience it. Much more than just a name or a logo, a brand is the recognizable feeling these assets evoke.”

May this “Happy Birthday, Kansas” message I wrote several years ago help you to clearer see the Kansas brand:

“Dear Kansas: I spent my childhood with you. I played in your fields, under your trees, picked your flowers. My family came to you and my feet can still walk on the land they homesteaded here. You've housed my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings. Now you house my husband and our children. You've given us seasons--seasons of the climate and seasons of the soul. We've watched the sun set, chased lightning bugs, made snow angels and marveled at the colors of fall. Lightning storms to snow storms, tornadoes to rainbows. You've held my memories. And now you hold my present and it seems you hold my future. Kansas, you aren't what everyone thinks you are. I'm thankful to have been born here, to be a Kansan. Thankful that "From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ (Acts 17:26-28).”

I would love to visit New York City one day, Mayor Adams. However, for now, my home will remain Kansas, as “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Ps. 16: 5-6). Because like you said about NYC, the same is true for Kansas–we, too, have a brand. And when people see it, it also means something.

Ad Astra per Aspera, Kansas!!!

Aubin Skipper

Proud resident of Rural Kansas

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