Civil Rights

Michael Poppa, executive director of the Mainstream Coalition, appears at a Jan. 24, 2022, news conference at the Statehouse in Topeka to raise concerns with the GOP-led redistricting process. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

In half of the Kansas House races, voters won’t have a choice

BY: - June 15, 2022

TOPEKA — For Michael Poppa, this year has been “a punch in the gut.” Poppa tries “to engage and educate and empower voters” through his work as the executive director of the Mainstream Coalition, a nonprofit focused on creating a more responsive government. Democracy, he says, is failing in Kansas. The latest indicator: 55 of […]

ACLU of Kansas argues probation shouldn’t depend on ability to pay fines

BY: - June 14, 2022

TOPEKA — The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas is arguing a state law allowing probation to be extended for the failure to pay fines and fees should be struck down as unconstitutional. A brief the ACLU filed Monday in state appeals court stems from the Johnson County case of Edwanda Garrett, who is appealing […]

The Community Remembrance Project, a group of organizations in Douglas County working to honor three Black men lynched from the Kansas River bridge in 1882, collected soil from the site in 2021. On Friday, a marker will be dedicated to George Robertson, Isaac King and Pete Vinegar. (Equal Justice Initiative/Douglas County Community Remembrance Project)

Kansas was far from Dixie, but lynching of Black people tells story of white vigilante terrorism

BY: - June 10, 2022

A Texas professor who studied Kansas' history of lynching found 56 instances of Blacks dying at the hands of mobs, including three murdered in Lawrence.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt recommended the state respond to school gun violence by placing more law enforcement officers and mental health professionals in schools. He also wants to increase grants to school districts for security projects and draw upon federal COVID-19 funding to expand budgets for security priorities. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Schmidt offers strategies for moderating threat of firearm violence in Kansas schools

BY: - June 8, 2022

Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a candidate for Kansas governor, offers proposals for improving security at schools to thwart violent assaults.

Garnell Whitfield Jr. (center), son of Ruth Whitfield, who died in the mass shooting in Buffalo's Tops supermarket, walks with Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), left, and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) after a hearing on gun violence June 7, 2022, before Senate Judiciary Committee at Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

‘My mom’s life mattered’: Son of Black shooting victim urges Congress to act

BY: - June 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — The son of a Black woman shot and killed by a white supremacist begged members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to take action against such domestic terrorism. The gunman in Buffalo, New York, was motivated by the “great replacement theory,” a racist conspiracy theory that claims growing numbers of immigrants […]

Advocates for $15-an-hour federal minimum wage press Biden for a meeting

BY: - June 6, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Poor People’s Campaign is urging President Joe Biden to meet with low-income workers before the organization’s march on Washington, D.C., on June 18 to advocate for a $15 federal minimum wage. “What we cannot do is be silent anymore,” Rev. William Barber II, the co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, said during […]

Connie Brown Collins, who appeared at a news conference at the Statehouse in January to protest new congressional maps, said it was critical that voting advocacy organizations do everything they can to address feelings of ambivalence within communities of voters who feel disenfranchised. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas voting advocates navigating new maps and law as registration deadline approaches

BY: - June 3, 2022

TOPEKA — Kansas voting advocacy organizations are grappling with what new congressional and legislative maps mean for registration efforts, while also navigating a new law that interferes with their work. The Kansas Supreme Court issued separate rulings last month declaring the congressional and legislative maps approved by the Republican-led Legislature complied with the state constitution. […]

Family members of fallen soldiers prepare to decorate graves in May of 1899. (Library of Congress)

The forgotten history of Memorial Day grew up in aftermath of Civil War

BY: - May 30, 2022

In the years following the bitter Civil War, a former Union general took a holiday originated by former Confederates and helped spread it across the entire country. The holiday was Memorial Day, an annual commemoration was born in the former Confederate States in 1866 and adopted by the United States in 1868. It is a […]

"Fred Gets Dressed," by Peter Brown, depicts a young boy who likes to romp naked through the house and gets dressed in his mother's clothes. Brown based on the book on an experience from his own life. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas library board decides to keep ‘Fred Gets Dressed’ despite mother’s complaint

BY: - May 26, 2022

TOPEKA — The Oakley Public Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to keep a children’s book over objections from a woman who asked for its removal. Janna Leitner tried to ban “Fred Gets Dressed,” by Peter Brown, from the public library after her two children, ages 9 and 11, discovered the book and brought it […]

Secretary of State Scott Schwab, a Republican seeking reelection, said Kansans should be confident in election security, resolution of redistricting was a relief and voters can look forward to deciding constitutional amendments in August and November. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Secretary of state weary of fact-averse out-of-staters who insult Kansas election system

BY: - May 23, 2022

Secretary of State Scott Schwab, who is seeking reelection, says voting is secure in Kansas and confirmation of redistricting maps is welcomed.


Anti-immigrant law motivated by xenophobia and racism makes Kansas less welcoming

BY: - May 22, 2022

The Kansas Reflector welcomes opinion pieces from writers who share our goal of widening the conversation about how public policies affect the day-to-day lives of people throughout our state. Huascar Medina is the poet laureate of Kansas. On Feb. 22, HB 2717 was introduced in the Kansas House of Representatives. By April 11, the bill became law. […]

Kansas Supreme Court disbars former Shawnee County prosecutor for unethical conduct

BY: - May 20, 2022

Kansas Supreme Court disbars former Shawnee County prosecutor who engaged in misconduct to win a double-murder trial later reversed on appeal.