Community remembers Lawrence reporter, advocate for the homeless who was killed by a train

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Over 100 people filled the Union Pacific Depot 402 N. Second St., to remember Chansi Rose Long on Nov. 30, 2023. Long was killed by a train on Nov. 23, 2023, after spending the night at an encampment for the unhoused researching a story.

A crowd filled the Union Pacific Depot on Thursday to remember a reporter and advocate for the homeless community who was killed by a train last week and to show their support for her family and the causes she worked for.

The ceremony drew more than 100 people to the depot in North Lawrence, just across the street from the city-run “New Beginnings” campsite where Chansi Rose Long, 40, of Lawrence, interviewed and befriended numerous homeless individuals and other local advocates.

Long worked as a freelance reporter for the Journal-World until the summer of 2022 and also wrote for various other online news outlets and had started her own online outlet in the months leading up to her death. She was struck and killed by an Amtrak train just after 8 a.m. on Nov. 23, Thanksgiving Day, while walking along the tracks in the same direction as the train to get to her car. She had spent the previous night at a homeless camp next to Burcham Park doing “lived experience” research for a story she planned to publish online.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a news release this week that it had ruled out foul play and suicide in Long’s death, as the Journal-World reported.

Many of Long’s friends on Thursday said they remembered her as a dedicated, inspiring person who had a talent for telling stories. One homeless resident said that Long worked hard to embrace the homeless community and to try to understand “what made us us.” Several other homeless individuals echoed that sentiment and said they felt Long “truly knew” them.

Long’s willingness to fight for causes she believed in was one thing that stood out to Jenn Wolsey, the former homeless programs coordinator for the City of Lawrence. Wolsey said she first met Long when the city-run campsite was being put together, and that Long was willing to confront city employees about what she saw as poor conditions at the camp.

“She was the city’s nightmare,” Wolsey said. “She put that phone in my face and said ‘what are you doing to these people?'”

Some of the speakers offered words of comfort specifically for Long’s grade-school-age daughters, Millie and Ophelia, and many kids the same age were also in attendance. A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to support Long’s daughters and their future education; the fund has raised $8,500 from 100 donors as of Thursday evening.

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Pastor Tom Craig with the Jesus Community Church of the Nazarene sings “Amazing Grace” on Nov. 30, 2023, at a celebration of life ceremony for Chansi Rose Long at the Union Pacific Depot 402 N. 2nd St.

photo by: Contributed

A picture of Chansi Rose Long and her daughters posted along with a GoFundMe fundraiser in support of the girls’ education fund. Long was killed by a train on Nov. 23, 2023.


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