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Dedman College students Jessica Leija and Katherine Mejia mentioned in a story about a local publication’s anniversary


artworks-000089494752-081kx9-t200x200D Magazine is marking its 40th anniversary with a diverse list of personalities that suggest a new currency of power in the city. A special issue and exhibit at Klyde Warren Park feature portraits of these individuals — GLBT activists, immigrants, and, yes, moguls among them — by photographer Elizabeth Lavin. For this week’s Friday Conversation, D editor Tim Rogers met KERA’s Rick Holter at the park.

Interview Highlights:

…on the assertion over the years that the city of Dallas and D Magazine seek to serve a portion of the city’s residents, and that those are wealthy and white: “We do cater to an exclusive audience. We’re not trying to publish a magazine for everyone. … That core readership; yes, they’re more affluent. They’re the leadership class. We’re not trying to reach everyone in North Texas. So it’s a focused audience, that’s how I’d put it.”

… on including Jessica Leija, valedictorian of Thomas Jefferson High School and now a freshman at SMU, in the ‘D 40’: “In 1974, when D Magazine launched, I believe 12 percent of the student population in DISD was Hispanic. And now it’s 70. And at TJ, where she graduated, it’s 93. That’s been a huge shift and it presents all sorts of challenges. But Jessica is what it looks like when you meet those challenges.”

… on how the city has changed since early issues of ‘D’: “I think maybe the biggest symbol of how the city’s changed is Klyde Warren Park, where you’re standing right now. The highway under our feet was built to enable people to get out to the suburbs as quickly as they could … There are so many changes underway right now that show — I think — that Dallas is waking up and realizing that we only succeed if the heart of the city — if downtown — succeeds.”

D Magazine’s ‘The Dallas 40’ is on newsstands now. See the stories and portraits in this interactive feature.

We checked in with Jessica Leija during her first week at SMU, and found her buddied up with another Thomas Jefferson valedictorian – Katherine Mejia (2013). They both got full rides to SMU after graduating first in their respective classes. People often tell them how successful and influential they’ll be someday. We asked them to share their feelings about power, and how they plan to use their own. Jessica, pictured at right, speaks first. LISTEN HERE

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