Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nearly live from the Statehouse: A report on the first Kansas Equality Day

By Diane Silver

I'm sitting on the first floor of the Statehouse rotunda, listening to the voices and footsteps echo off the marble floor and up the dome. Chocolate is being handed out, and we're talking to folks who pass by.

The Kansas Equality Coalition has tables set up for each chapter with banners hanging from the tables, but few folks are sitting. Most of us have spread out through the Statehouse to talk to our legislators. Members of every chapter are here, from Lawrence to Johnson County to Salina and Wichita and Southwest Kansas out around Dodge City.
I've already walked through the building, visiting lawmakers' offices. I left material for four representatives, but only had a chance to talk to one fellow, an old friend who bemoans the lack of "deep thinkers" in Topeka. Our Chapter President, Maggie Childs, had a bit more luck, catching senators as they left the session for lunch today.

The important thing is that we're here, and we're talking to people. This is a first for Kansas, for fairness and equality. Many of our people have never even talked to a legislator before, and this is important experience for them.

Many lawmakers have never spoken to an out lesbian or gay man, or to our straight supporters. This is an important first for them.

Change moves slowly to any government, and the Kansas Legislature is no different. But change is coming. Our voice is being heard. It's about time!

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