Full Name: Veronika Morgans
Birth Country: Canada
Occupation: COO Marknology. Co-Founder Landlocked
Why did you choose Kansas City as home?
I was living in Tampa finishing up my Masters in Environmental Engineering. My brother (and business partner) was living in Kansas City when I started helping him with both of our companies. Once I graduated it was either continue on the Engineering trajectory or move to KC and take a chance. Best decision of my life moving to Kansas City.
Why did you decide to give your time and voice to launch the We are all humans campaign with Landlocked?
There are a lot of reasons I could give as to why this project is important to me. I grew up all over the world in Canada, Africa, and Russia I came back to the US at 18. I've seen the worst of humanity and the best of humanity. I'm a white female who spent most of her time in Africa. Grew up around refugee camps and extreme poverty. Often feeling like I didn't fit in, shy, awkward and even though my skin color, language etc was the common language my insides were different. However, the more I started to talk to the people around me I realized that we all are "human" we all face many of the same fears, insecurities of not fitting in, of
being different, of being misunderstood. Regardless of what language we
speak, what race we identify with, gender, occupation we have the same
basic needs and desires. There will always be something about you that
makes you different, however, these are the beautiful parts of us, not the
parts we should be scared of or shy away from.
In your experience or of those close to you how has language and equality crossed paths?
As someone who grew up in countries where English was not spoken, I'm very comfortable being surrounded by the unknown. I grew up in the Kinshasa, Congo a city of over 10 million people. Very few spoke English, Equality came in to play in the opposite way that most in the US experience inequalities. Mine was in the assumption of wealth.
As a white family in Africa, we were often the target of those less fortunate
than ourselves, even being held up by gunpoint, kidnapped and lied to by
those whom we considered family. Our skin color signaled wealth. While we
did have more than most in the country we didn't have a lot. My family had
sold all of our belongings and taken that money to live on while in the country
hoping to help in any way they could.
What is the importance of equality?
Quite a difficult question to succinctly answer but I will try. When thinking about equality it doesn't mean that there aren't differences or that those differences shouldn't be celebrated or identified, quite the opposite. The differences are what make us beautiful.
We celebrate those differences but our differences don't divide us. The
importance of equality for me is to let those who feel different or less than
because of languages, culture, race, skin color, social class, gender, weight,
religion and the list could go on know that I stand with you, that I think you
are beautiful, that I will be bold in my support.
At what age did you realize not everyone was treated Equal? Did you
experience something first hand, or was it something your loved
ones brought to your attention?
There are a couple of different times that come to mind when thinking of
equality growing up that I often come back to.
- I remember being in school in Africa and a girl came up to me and told me
she was African. The girl looked like me. I remember it so clearly telling her
there was no way she was African, she was white! I was so jealous. I moved
to Africa when I was 4 and I wanted to be African too. I came home that day
telling mom about what the girl had told me, I just knew she was lying. Little
did I know that you could be white and African :)
- We came back to the US around 10 or 11 for a few years and I had a
girlfriend who was black. We were besties, completely unaware of our skin
color differences. I grew up in Africa so all of my friends looked like her.
However, her mom had not grown up in Africa and was very aware of our
differences. She would often accuse me of not treating her daughter right
because of her skin color. I was completely baffled, I would go home in tears.
It wasn't until later in life that I realized that that was a protection
mechanism. I can't even begin to understand what she must have gone
through. Today we are friends both my bestie and her mom.
- I moved back to the states around 19 and moved to Louisiana to go to
The University of Louisiana. I chose this school because it was cheap and was
known for its great education and I received my Bachelor's in Political Science
there. It wasn't until I started school in Louisiana that I realized that racism in
America was not a thing of the history books. The university was very much
divided. I learned a lot from those years.
What are some of your favorite aspects about yourself that some see
as the things that set you apart from everyone else?
It's always been my brain, my thought process, my discipline, my ability to
see both sides of a situation.