Local leaders react to peaceful protests in Wichita

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Despite some violence and vandalism during protests around the country, protesters in Wichita have remained peaceful.

“We try to stay focused on the point rather than any of the distractions,” said Brandon Johnson, Wichita City councilman. “In some of these other cities, you’ve had outsiders come in and try to start things.”

Hundreds of people demanded their voices be heard in several separate protests and rallies this weekend.

Councilman Johnson an this wife attended some of those along with other local leaders.

Johnson said he looked at the crown at the protests and was proud to see the diversity.

“The folks that were probably first-timers ever showing up,” said Johnson. “The eyes that were opened to this is a reality. It was powerful to see the allies that were there.”

Lacey Cruse, Sedgwick County commissioner, and her daughter also stood alongside the people in the diverse crowd of protesters.

“Involve children become active adults,” said Cruse. “I think it just goes to show you how many people in this community really care about each other and when called to act, they do.”

Some officials said the response from local law enforcement and officials may have kept the protests peaceful.

“What really impressed me was Chief [Gordon] Ramsay and the Wichita Police Department,” said Cruse. “Really sort of kind of taking a leadership role in being there, speaking.”

Leaders are encouraging people to keep the conversation going and urge citizens to hold officials accountable.

“We heard those things loud and clear from the folks that we talked to,” said Johnson. “I think that was kind of the point.”

Cruse said she will continue advocating for equality and wants to push for changes in the county like providing funding for black and brown communities in the fight against COVID-19.

“When I’m sitting at those tables for folks who are sitting next to me,” said Cruse. “There are no black or brown people on the county commission and I feel like I have to be the one to speak up.”

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