The late Sen. Curtis McClinton and current Senate President Susan Wagle will be honored this week by the Kansas Human Rights Commission.
In honor of the 60th anniversary of its founding, the commission released the names of 10 Kansans who are this year’s recipients of the James E. Butler Civil Rights Award. In addition, Wagle will receive special recognition for her service as first female president of the Kansas Senate.
The awards will be presented during a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday in the Landon State Office Building in Topeka. The recipients were selected for their efforts in supporting civil rights and enforcing Kansas laws prohibiting discrimination.
In addition to McClinton, a Wichitan who was the first African-American elected to the state Senate, the winners are:
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Onofre “Opie” Astorga, Dodge City; Will Burnett, Topeka; Deborah Dandridge, Topeka; Martha Gabehart, Auburn; Sen. George Haley, Kansas City; Robert Mikesic, Lawrence; Brandon Myers, Auburn; Darrell Pope, Hutchinson, and Representative Myles Stevens (posthumous) Kansas City.
The Butler award was established in 2008 by the commission in support of the Kansas Act Against Discrimination and the Kansas Anti-Discrimination Commission, both established in 1953. It is named after James E. Butler, 92, who served on the Kansas commission under five Kansas governors.