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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Kansas

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

U.S. Attorney's Statewide Civil Rights Symposium Set For Aug. 9, 2013 At Johnson County Community College

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A Wichita historian and author of an awarding-winning book on the civil rights movement in the Midwest will be the featured speaker at the U.S. Attorney’s third annual statewide Civil Rights Symposium Aug. 9 at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Gretchen Eick Ph.D., professor emeritus of history at Friends University, will draw upon her book, “Dissent in Wichita: The Civil Rights Movement in the Midwest, 1954-1972,” when she speaks. Through protests such as the sit-in at the Dockum Drugstore in Wichita in 1958, civil rights advocates applied pressure leading up to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Eick will be one of several speakers during the free, day-long event focusing on federal civil rights enforcement in Kansas. Grissom said this is the third year in a row his office has sponsored the symposium.

“This event is an opportunity for us to rededicate ourselves to the continuing struggle for equal rights, equal opportunity and equal justice,” said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. “We are inspired by the example of those before us who spoke out despite difficulty and danger.”

The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for upholding the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans. It enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.

Other presentations during the symposium will include a panel discussion on civil rights with panelists U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom; Gary Brunk, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, and Thomas Witt, executive director of the Kansas Equality Coalition.

The symposium is free and open to the public, but anyone who wants to attend must register. A registration form and more information will be available on the U.S. Attorney’s Web site at

Sponsors for the event include the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri, the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, the Public Safety Training Center at Johnson County Community College and the Regional Community Policing Training Institute at Wichita State University.

For more information call Jim Cross, public information officer, at 316-269-6481.

Updated December 15, 2014