Civil Rights

Path to civic engagement for Kansas’ marginalized communities littered with barriers

BY: - September 5, 2020

TOPEKA — Shannon Portillo remembers the glares and sideways glances cast at her father, a darker-skinned, Mexican American man, and her mother, a blond, blue-eyed, white woman, as they entered their polling location together. Despite the looks, her parents took pride in voting, said Portillo, the assistant VP of academic affairs at the University of […]

Members of the Commission on Racial Equity and Justice express an interest Thursday in increasing diversity of listening session communities. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas tribes seek clarity with federal, state law enforcement

BY: - September 4, 2020

TOPEKA — In Vivien Olsen’s experience as an American Indian tribal attorney, she has seen firsthand how the complicated tribal, state and federal law enforcement relationship has led to over-victimization of native people in Kansas. Olsen, the former tribal attorney for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, said native people often face questions about […]

Spanish-speaking Kansans face language barrier amid COVID-19

BY: - August 30, 2020

Veronica Mireles knows from personal experience the perils many Kansas Latinos face navigating health care in Kansas without English fluency. When Mireles arrived at a hospital in Wichita with her ill son, she received a bilingual staff member rather than a qualified interpreter. The staff member provided some basic translations, but it was insufficient. “My […]

Members of the University of Kansas women's basketball team Friday led a Black Lives Matter march across campus to draw attention to pervasive racism and inequality. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

KU women’s basketball team leads Black Lives Matter march across campus

BY: - August 28, 2020

University of Kansas women's basketball team draws hundreds to Black Lives Matter march on campus in Lawrence.

‘You just have to act’: Thousands outraged by police brutality rally at March on Washington

BY: and - August 28, 2020

WASHINGTON — On the 57th anniversary of the original March on Washington and in the throes of a pandemic, thousands of demonstrators on Friday joined Democratic lawmakers on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to demand Congress act on police brutality and voter suppression. The event, organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, […]

Khadijah Hardaway, a community organizer for Justice for Wyandotte, and others gather Thursday to apply pressure to Kansas City, Kan., Mayor David Alvey and Wyandotte County administrator Doug Blach. They want criminal charges filed against retired detective Roger Golubski, and an investigation into his cases. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

Interfaith call for justice seeks accountability for Wyandotte County officials

BY: - August 28, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Community activists and faith leaders are demanding action and transparency from Wyandotte County authorities on investigations into wrongful convictions and misconduct of a retired police detective. Khadijah Hardaway, a community organizer for Justice for Wyandotte, said in a call for justice Thursday night that accountability for Kansas City, Kansas, officials is […]

Angelica Hale says she plans to ask a federal judge to reconsider his decision to award her just nine months worth of back pay. She left Emporia State University in July 2015, citing a hostile work environment after she complained about the university's handling of a racial slur. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Former Emporia State University employee not happy with $64K ruling for discrimination

BY: and - August 27, 2020

TOPEKA — A federal judge has ordered Emporia State University to pay $64,000 to a former employee who faced retaliation after reporting a racist slur in 2015. Angelica Hale, 58, had argued for at least $500,000 to cover wages and benefits she would have earned if she had been allowed to stay at the university […]

Kansas Attorney General Derek said elderly Kansans should be placed in line for the COVID-19 vaccination ahead of younger state prison inmates. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas attorney general keen for Legislature to fix shortcomings of state disaster law

BY: - August 26, 2020

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says reform of Kansas' emergency management law is necessary given challenges surfacing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of police supporters demonstrate for a Back the Blue rally Tuesday in downtown Topeka ahead of a special council meeting to discuss potential police reform. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Hundreds rally in Topeka to ‘back the blue’ in clash with Black Lives Matter

BY: - August 25, 2020

TOPEKA — Hundreds of police supporters gathered Tuesday afternoon outside the capital’s city hall to protest demands by Black Lives Matter. Standing in sweltering heat, they chanted “back the blue,” joined in prayer, sang “God Bless America,” and cheered speakers, including three Republican candidates for the Kansas Legislature, who urged them to brace for a […]

Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the 2nd District, laughs during a news conference Tuesday about the suggestion by Kim Borchers that the mayor is angling for the "woke vote" by pursuing police reform. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Politics, misinformation undermine Topeka debate on police reform

BY: - August 25, 2020

Kim Borchers wants Topeka residents to be afraid. Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla wants people to stop paying attention to lies they see online. A Kansas delegate to the Republican National Convention, Borchers hurled a Molotov cocktail of misinformation, anger and fear into public debate on police reform during a live Facebook video earlier […]

Removing roadblocks for Latino voters is slow work in Kansas

BY: - August 22, 2020

TOPEKA — Alejandro Rangel-Lopez didn’t think twice about taking legal action when Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox moved the only polling location outside of Dodge City limits in 2018. “Voting is one of the most important rights we have,” Rangel-Lopez said. “I learned from my father at an early age. He became a citizen in […]

Kansas rights commission embracing broader definition of sex discrimination

BY: - August 21, 2020

Kansas Human Rights Commission is expanding its reach following federal court decision defining sex discrimination to include LGBTQ complaints.