Equality rally sparks involvement, discussion

Story by Whitney Silkey, Assistant News Editor

Associate Professor of History Leonard Ortiz’s Social and Cultural Evolutions of the 1960s class held an Equality Rally April 22 at the Rotunda.

There were balloons leading people to the rally, which included speeches and performances, that the class had spent weeks organizing. First up to the microphone was junior Anna Hobbs, who shared statistics about equality and the LGBT community. Then Sandra Moran, an anthropologist and author from Johnson County Community College, spoke about sex and gender as well as homosexuality in different cultures.

“I thought that Sandra was a wonderful speaker,” senior Heather Wright said. “I learned a lot. I hope everyone else did, too.”

After the speeches there was an open mic for anyone to speak about equality and discrimination. President Lynne Murray stopped by with her two dogs and spoke during this portion.

“I was really happy to see President Lynne Murray engaged in the community and in events put on by students,” junior Aaron Greenbaum said.

Although there were not a lot of people at the rally, Wright says it was more quality over quantity.

“I feel like the people there got something out of it,” Wright said.

Earlier in the week, the class set up tables in the Long Student Center where students could write letters to Gov. Sam Brownback about the recent executive orders that many Kansas think go against the LGBT community. Greenbaum believes politics can sometimes seem like a “dirty P-word” but writing letters helped students become more politically involved.

The Equality Rally was a protest awareness project created by Ortiz’s class to see how people in the 1960s would have gathered and educated large numbers of people at protests for social changes.

“I think equality of all people is important for a happy world,” Hobbs said. “A lot of people have opinions on equality that should be heard.”