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Pherigo ends hunger strike but plans to continue protesting in other ways

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 11:56 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Re’Nae Pherigo said the deciding factor to stop her hunger strike outside of the KDOL building was a message from someone threatening her child.

After getting in contact with Wellington Police, they said they were called to her residence after being told of the threat and of her husband worrying about their safety. Police told 13 News they checked the home, security systems and said the incident was blown out of proportions. They said the family is safe and the family will call them if they fear any danger.

Pherigo allegedly received death threats herself and has had politicians and members of her Facebook group, “Unemployment Hunger Strike Supporters,” tell her to stay safe and be aware of possible threats.

The message in which someone threatened to rape her one-year-old daughter and listed her home address caused her to react on her Facebook Live the night of the occurrence. Pherigo said she received the threat from someone she did not know and did not know how to react in the moment, thus ending her hunger strike.

She has since said she let her emotions get the best of her and will continue to fight for unemployment claims for Kansans. She is continuing to look into ways she said will hold politicians accountable.

As of Tuesday night, Pherigo is still in Topeka.

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Re’Nae Pherigo said the deciding factor to stop her hunger strike outside of the KDOL building was a message from someone threatening her child.

The message in which someone threatened her daughter and listed her home address caused her to react on her Facebook Live the night of the occurrence, where she said she was finished. She has since said she let her emotions get the best of her and will continue to fight for unemployment claims for Kansans.

While she stopped her hunger strike, she is continuing to look into ways she said will hold politicians accountable.

“I really was at my wits end and I went to sleep, woke up and then I was like you know what, we need to figure out another tactic here because obviously something is not right,” she said.

Pherigo went on Facebook Live multiple times Tuesday to share ideas and brainstorm with members on what to do next.

She said it was important to ask questions as this has been a learning experience for her. After talking with multiple members of her Facebook group, “Unemployment Hunger Strike Supporters” which now has more than 1,100 members, she said getting in contact with Senator Jerry Moran, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and other state leaders for help is possible. As well as signing a petition and sending them pictures of families affected. She mentioned possibly doing another hunger strike in the future but said whatever needs to happen to help Kansans now, needs to be done.

“Every single one of them at this point is responsible because no matter if I’m talking to a democrat, republican, independent not a single person wants to take responsibility and that is so alarming,” she said.

She also highlighted the mental health struggles Kansans go through when they’re not receiving their unemployment benefits. The Department of Labor has said it is doing what it can to resolve issues and pay claims, but the system has been overwhelmed. They said in some cases, they’ve had to wait for federal guidance before issuing payments on new programs.

Tuesday night will be her first night sleeping in her car. She said she was donated a room her first night in Topeka from a close friend, and continued to receive donations from other Kansans she did not know.

She said it’s important to remember humanity over politics and help Kansans get the help they need. She has been called an activist by some, but to her, she said she was just an upset mom looking to get her money.

Now, with her group getting more and more members by the day, she said she feels she has a responsibility to help those who don’t have a voice.

“This isn’t a discussion about where money went why, who cares, who doesn’t, what party is to blame like I don’t care. We need to move forward or we’re not going to get through it,” she said.

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Re’Nae Pherigo has ended her hunger strike against the Kansas Department of Labor after eight days due to death threats she says she has received.

Re’Nae Pherigo writes in a Facebook post that she has abandoned her hunger strike against the Kansas Department of Labor. She said she is leaving her post after eight days due to receiving about 100 death threats or death wishes a day. She also said the mounting pressure added to her decision.

Pherigo said that despite the hatred shown towards her, she also met many incredible people.

“You will meet some incredible people that have the same heart you do,” said Pherigo. “This is the best part. The side of humanity you believe in.”

Pherigo said many tried to warn her of the hatred she would be subjected to but did not believe them.

Currently, Pherigo says she is searching for someone to take over her fight and her Facebook page “Unemployment Hunger Strike Supporters.”

“This isn’t a discussion about where money went why, who cares, who doesn’t, what party is to blame like I don’t care. We need to move forward or we’re not going to get through it,” she said.

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