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Then And Now: The Summer Of Justice

Twenty-five years ago, thousands of people came to the Summer of Mercy abortion protests in Wichita. This week, Operation Save America is back in the city to demonstrate, pray, and to stop abortions.

Former Wichita Mayor Bob Knight

Credit wichita.edu
Former Wichita Mayor Bob Knight

"I can't recall anything even approaching the divisions that were caused by the subject. I was expected to be impartial in the way the city operated. Even within the structure of the city you had deeply divided opinions; it was a perfect picture of a community pulling apart."

Rev. Rusty Thomas

Credit Sean Sandefur / KMUW/File photo
KMUW/File photo
Rev. Rusty Thomas, with Operation Save America, speaks at a press conference in Wichita last week.

"But listen, Wichita, and I'm gonna be honest with you, we could have gone to many other cities that actually commit a larger volume of murders of the innocent for blood money, I'm speaking spiritually here, and those who are biblically minded please bare with me here, Wichita is the heartland of America, and I don't think it's a coincidence that George Tiller's infamous abortion mill is in Wichita."

Julie Burkhart

Credit Courtesy photo
Trust Women South Wind Women's Center Director Julie Burkhart

"I mean, I would like to think that people have, especially in this community, had time to reflect on what happened in '91, in 2001, what happened with Dr. Tiller and what led to his assassination. I would like to think that people have grown and evolved in their thinking, and that this either/or thinking has not been so productive for us as a community, as a country, there are a lot of shades of gray. Sometimes you have to make the best decision out of a bad situation, or a situation that you would rather not be in."

Dixie Selenke

Credit Carla Eckels / KMUW
Protester Dixie Selenke.

"The Christians, the believers, are not coming out like the did in 1991. Apparently, we have fallen asleep again as the body of Christ and as believers and as the church. Where is the church of Wichita, Kansas, today? Where are we? We could come out every day. There's enough of us in Wichita."


Aileen LeBlanc is news director at KMUW. Follow her on Twitter @Aileen_LeBlanc.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.


Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.