Bonded by Phrat: Two KS legislators on opposite sides of aisle remember MLK

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:57 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Side by side in the Kansas sunshine, state officials walked the statehouse grounds Thursday to remember the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.

While reflecting on King’s life and legacy as a Civil Rights Leader, the governor proclaimed January 17th the MLK holiday.

For Wichita Representatives KC Ohaebosim, a Democrat and Patrick Penn, a Republican, it’s a time to remember their connection to Dr. King through the brotherhood of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

Representatives Ohaebosim joined Wichita State’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and Representative Penn joined in the Army while stationed in Korea.

Both are affiliated with the Distinguished Gentlemen of Wichita’s Eta Beta Lambda Chapter.

Dr. King was a member of Boston University’s chapter.

“In terms of unity with respect to what MLK was fighting for, justice for all one thing that we as fraternity and also vision,” Ohaebosim said.

“You know, [a] voteless people’s a hopeless people, making sure that people are actually expressing their opinion at the polls and making sure our voices are heard.”

For two years, the lawmakers and fraternity brothers have been working to use King’s values to create a better Kansas.

“There are other perspectives outside of our own so we look to do the things that are necessary and proper for the benefit of all Kansans,” Rep. Penn said.

“It might not be everything I want it, we have to negotiate, it might not be everything Rep. Ohaebosim wants but what we do know is that we get done what the people of Kansas need.”

It’s a philosophy the pair hopes can extend further across party lines.

“It’s like marriage, you’re not always going to agree with everyone,” Ohaebosim said.

“At the same time, you can find common ground stand on principal, principal being we want equality for all, justice for all and making sure no one’s voice is suppressed.”

“This relationship means everything to me because when you are up and that floor and you cannot show you have growth, row in that you do not have camaraderie with anyone in that chamber, it kind of locks you out,” Penn said.

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