Protesters gather at Topeka capitol to advocate for change in education spending

Grace Foiles

Protesters gathered outside of the Kansas State Capitol to form a human chain around the building on Friday, June 26 at 3 p.m.

Planning for the event started when concerned citizen, Emily Rupple, and associates became upset with funding cuts made to education and the Governor’s decisions on the issue. They decided to gather a group of like-minded individuals at the capitol building to protest.

“We wanted to show that we care and be visible and the best place to be visible is in front of people that we think are making the wrong decisions,” Rupple said.

The event began with individuals writing protest statements on the sidewalk with chalk such as “stop taking from our youth” and “support public education.” After that Davis Hammet, director of operations, and Patrick Velasquez, development coordinator at Planting Peace and Stephanie West lead the participants in several protest songs. Then the approximately 80 protesters linked arms and formed a chain in front of the State house steps.

“We hope to put pressure on especially the Governor and the legislature that they need to listen to their constituents. They are not listening and its time to listen,” Rupple said.

At that point, the event hit a roadblock and Rupple’s hopes were not able to come to fruition. The participants were only able to stand in their protest formation for brief period of time before officers from the Topeka Police Department arrived to politely tell protesters to disband. Due to a permit issue, the protest was not allowed to happen on the State house grounds. The police also pointed out to protesters that sidewalk chalk was a form of vandalism and was also strictly prohibited.

The protesters then disbanded, some of those involved took their signs and protested on the sidewalk just outside of the grounds of the Capitol building, others departed.

Rupple’s final suggestion to anyone else who is frustrated by the Kansas government was to “Take a stand, and make your voice heard.”