Brownback’s order sparks discord, protest follows

A member of KNEA holds up a sign during a protest at the capitol in Topeka. Sam Brownback's plan to cut school funding resulted in marches and protests.

Mary Brady

A member of KNEA holds up a sign during a protest at the capitol in Topeka. Sam Brownback's plan to cut school funding resulted in marches and protests.

Sophomore Eli Jost arrived at the state Capitol on Feb. 14 with one goal in mind: change. Standing among a crowd of determined citizens who shared his goal, he and others carry signs, chanted and waved flags all in the hope of showing the governor their frustration with his recent actions.

On Feb. 10, Gov. Sam Brownback revoked an executive order that gave state employees protection from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and sexual identity. He replaced this with a new order that only protects state employees from discrimination regarding race, color, gender, religion, national origin, ancestry and age. Some Kansans reacted strongly.

“I can’t really believe that people elected this guy,” junior Nat Hoopes said. “He’s definitely not appreciating humanity or respecting other people’s values and lives.”

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Capitol building in Topeka. Equipped with signs and colorful flags, people from all over Kansas and neighboring states came together to demand the right to protection for the LGBT community.

“There was a really good vibe,” Jost said. “There wasn’t a lot of blaming or hatred going on.”

Brownback has not released a statement regarding the protest or further action that will be taken, but Jost continues to be optimistic about the situation.

“I think it’s really important to go out and stand up for things that you believe in because if you don’t, nothing is ever going to happen,” Jost said. “The fact the people showed up (for the protest) does say something.”

Hoopes is confident about the positive effects of the protest as well.

“It made people who are being oppressed by this decision feel a little bit more comfortable and supported by the Kansas community,” Hoopes said.