LETTER: Unity Walk

Rev. R. Grossman

To the editor:

Where were all of the Republicans? I had the opportunity to attend the no hate walk here in Leavenworth honoring the memory of a U.S. citizen who appears to have been murdered by uniformed police officers. I choose not to mention his name because I would rather this walk be in memory of all those that have faced the brutality of those we entrust with the enforcement of our laws and not just our black brothers.

The walk was very well organized and peaceful. It was sponsored by the NAACP, Unity in the Community and the Richard Allen Cultural Center. The police were very helpful and organized and left no doubt that they were there for the protection and safety of all that chose to participate in this public plea for change. We all need to give thanks to the officers and their leaders for being a model of what a police unit should truly be.

The issues that concerned me are basic. As a registered Republican, it appeared to me that very few Republicans actually attended this event. I attend almost all of the Republican town hall meetings and events, including the Republican Women’s functions, and I did not recognize any of those members to be present.

Rep. Jeff Pittman, Todd Thompson, Vicky Kaaz and Mike Smith were present and as a Republican I appreciated their non-partisan participation.

Notably absent were appointed Sen. Braun and state House candidate Pat Proctor, both of whom need these constituents’ votes in order to win the ultimate prize. I understand that the virus and the heat of the day may have kept some away. I for one could not participate in the entire walk because I am one of those at risk based on age, diabetes and heart problems but I did attend the opening speeches in order to show my solidarity for a cause that we should all believe in – equal protection under the law. This would have been a fantastic opportunity for the Republican Party, my party, to show that we care about issues not only important to all of Kansas’ citizens but to this country as a whole. If you are a Republican and did attend then I thank you but I wonder why our state senator and a state House candidate failed to show up. I personally invited Mr. Proctor to come and participate as a concerned citizen.

The speeches where heartfelt but they did appear to be one-sided. Black lives are not the only lives that matter. All lives matter.

The opening speech also gave us prayer in the name of Jesus and while there are a lot of believers in Jesus there are also those of us of the Jewish and Muslim faiths that are not. These prayers can be offensive and alienate us from the true cause. There are prayers that embrace all of us and our pastors need to learn them.

I remain committed to the Republican platform but I will continue to support candidates that represent all of us and are committed to those that they represent. I thank and applaud Rep. Pittman for his support of this event as the duly elected representative of this constituency as well as Thompson, Kaaz and Smith. As of this date I will continue my support for them in the upcoming election. I ask Mr. Proctor for a public response for not showing up (being a small business owner is not the only requirement for the position he seeks to fill).

The citizens of Leavenworth deserve fair and equal representation regardless of their color. Not supporting this event was a missed opportunity by my fellow Republicans. Maybe those out there that are still considering Sen. Braun and Pat Proctor should attend the upcoming Republican picnic and town hall meetings in order to ask them what their positions are. Time for transparency.