For Kansas progressives, a cup of cold water in a dry spell

By Susan Stevens

I was thrilled to testify last week as a private Kansas citizen in support of Kansas House Bill 2215 — a bill written to right the wrong committed when certain drug-impacted Kansans were previously banned — for life — from access to food assistance via SNAP. Because I submitted my testimony through the nonprofit statewide advocacy organization Kansas Appleseed, there could be no hint of partisanship so I didn’t mention my affiliation with Social Democrats USA. Nonetheless, I was fully participating in the work of social democracy, as we passionately and diligently march, step by step, closer and closer, to the real America shining brightly in all our hearts; one where we see one another’s true equality, regardless of any past desperation that may have driven some of us to make poor choices and commit crimes.

We are in a seemingly dark time here in Kansas. Republican supermajorities in the State House and Senate have led to a redistricting nightmare. It seems practically certain that my county — Wyandotte County, the most racially-diverse county in Kansas — is going to be split apart along I-70, greatly diluting our largely urban and working and lower-class voice.  Progressives here envy Berniecrat Nina Turner’s Ohio district, where redistricting is actually helping her consolidate and increase her voting base to make a forceful challenge to centrist Democrat, incumbent Rep. Shontel Brown.

Yet moments like these — getting to speak out in support of this anti-hunger legislation being introduced — are like a cup of cold water to the thirsty, reminding us that we are still the people of Kansas, and we can — we MUST — keep exhorting our elected representatives to truly listen and represent us! Especially now that our Republican supermajority has voted to add an anti-abortion amendment to our State Constitution on the August 2022 ballot. In this case, the ‘cup of water’ will be a direct democratic vote, where each voter has a say even if they’re living in a predominantly anti-abortion district. The challenge is that, as a primary, it is expected to be a low voter turnout election.

So we of Social Democrats USA of Kansas City, Kansas will be out knocking on doors this spring and summer, alerting Kansans as to what is at stake come August (see: FORCED CHILDBIRTH WEARS A TEN-GALLON HAT ). The night may be dark but we know how to light it up — by uniting our individual sparks into a radiant social democratic blaze. We hope you’ll join us!

Susan Stevens is the Chair of the Kansas City, Kansas chapter of Social Democrats USA.

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