Members of Sunflower Community Action, an immigrant and worker rights organization based in Wichita, Kan., traveled hundreds of miles round trip to the state capitol in Topeka on March 6 to conduct a People’s Assembly on Immigration Reform. At the assembly, held in the state capitol rotunda, immigrants shared heartrending stories about their families being torn apart by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other government agencies.
Those assembled demanded that two proposed anti-immigrant bills in committee, Senate Bill 140 and House Bill 2192, be stopped immediately. Sunflower members and supporters also demanded that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback veto any anti-immigration legislation and support a path to legalization for hard-working families.
The week before, on March 1, members of Sunflower and their supporters repeatedly disrupted a speech given by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach at the Wichita Pachyderm Club. Kobach, an anti-immigrant zealot, is one of the leading architects of Senate Bill 1070 in Arizona and other racist and anti-immigrant legislation in Alabama, Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere.
As soon as Kobach started speaking, one protester disrupted his speech and was taken out by security. Then another protester stood up and denounced Kobach. This activity continued throughout his speech. Protesters said they wanted Kobach to step down from his office because he didn’t represent working families in Kansas or anywhere else.
At its monthly membership meeting on March 31, the Witchita/Hutchinson Labor Federation, which represents 30,000 members in South Central Kansas, passed a resolution to support comprehensive immigration reform and to donate $500 toward an April 6 launch event to establish a Worker’s Center in Wichita. (whlaborfed.org)
The Worker’s Center is being led by Sunflower, with major support from Service Employees Local 513, the Labor Federation, the Wichita chapter of Interfaith Worker Justice and many other groups. The April 6 fundraising event will feature local, regional and national leaders in the immigrant and worker rights struggle.
For more information on the April 6 event and other immigrant and worker rights struggles in Kansas, visit sunfloweract.org.