Colleen welcomes you to read her words here.
Colleen Kelly Johnston is a native-born Kansan of Irish heritage. Her grandparents homesteaded a ranch on the Kansas-Oklahoma border.
She has enjoyed writing for as long as she can remember. Her first poem won a first place and was published in 1949. Colleen wrote one of the first columns on consumer awareness for The New Newspaper and The Prairie Journal in Kansas and continues to write columns and articles on women's rights and political issues for local and national publications.
Her book on political activism for volunteers was published in 1985. Colleen's first book of poetry and memoirs, Stepping Stones: Moments in a Woman's Life, was published in 2000. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and a poetry chapbook, The Gospel According to Me.
"As a progressive-liberal egalitarian woman I make it my responsibility to be a lightning rod and citizen activist for women and all those discriminated against for any reason," she said in a recent interview about her social and political positions. "If one of my adversaries call me a bitch, I consider I am accomplishing my purpose."
Johnston is a dedicated progressive democrat. Her son Kelly is the Sedgwick County Democratic Chair and a daughter, Casey, ran for State Representative. As Casey said recently, "we (she and her five siblings) were raised in political campaigns and can put together a candidate mailing and be ready to go in a short time." All six children are dedicated to liberal political causes.
Married to retired trial attorney, James P. Johnston who studies and speaks on political assassinations of the 20th Century, Colleen often writes letters to the editor. Her letters have appeared the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and newspapers in Albuquerque, Seattle and other publications. Being a Wichitan, she principally is read in the Wichita Eagle and was once banned from being published there because of the heat of her letter regarding leading women executives being housed on cots in a barn at a businessmen's weekend while the men were put up in a motel.
Perhaps Colleen's most significant life's work is her feminist activities. Colleen was co-founder of the Wichita Chapter of the National Organization for Women -- in which she held many offices -- and later served as a member of that organization 's national board. She was a founder of the Women's Political Caucus in Kansas and the Women's Equality Coalition in 1976, and the Democratic Women's Task Force in Kansas. She was an organizer of the National Council of Neighborhood Women as well. Colleen served as a delegate to the National Women's Congress and served as the Security Director of their conference in 1977. In addition, she was co-founder and served as Vice President of the ProChoice Action League. Johnston was the Director of Kansas NOW operations during the 1991 so-called Summer of Mercy. She also has been a member of the Women's Equality Coalition, the Women's Political Caucus and the National Council of Women's Organizations. She was chosen Woman of the Year for the Equality Coalition and the Kansas Women in Communication.
In service to Wichita, Colleen has served on the Inner City Task Force, Historic Landmark Preservation Committee, Wichita Traffic Commission, Citizen's Participation Organization, both neighborhood council and Central Council. She was awarded Citizen of the Year by the Midtown Citizen's Organization served on the Kansas Governmental Ethics Committee.
Colleen served on the original board of the Kansas Writers Association and continued as a board member for six years as Chair, treasurer, member-at-large and director of KWA's annual writing competition. She is also a member of the Kansas Author's Club. Her poetry and fiction have won national, local and state competitions and have appeared on the web and in publications such as Ha! Magazine, The Exquisite Ghost, Artemis' Arrow, Tonight Cassandra, Used Ink, Women of the Plains and Words From the Flatlands, Collage, Heart's Design and others.
Visitors can browse all of the entries in Colleen's blog archives here as they grow over time.