As friends, family and members of the Wichita community gathered for a vigil to remember Vayden "Bucky" Easley Wednesday night, Kansas' governor sent a letter of support from Topeka.
The Wichita Chapter of GLSEN, a national LGBTQ resource for students in elementary school through high school hosted the vigil Wednesday night alongside friends of Easley. Easley died by suicide last week at Wichita Southeast High School.
Before Wednesday night's vigil, a small group gathered near Southeast to rally and march to the school with signs to show their support for people in the trans community and to say bullying needs to stop.
It's with a heavy heart that I write this letter in memory and honor of Bucky Easley. I didn't know Bucky, but I grieve his death alongside his friends, family, and classmates. Buck was a beloved member of this community, but sadness overwhelmed him before he could see the profound impact he had on the people around him - all of you. We must grieve this loss together.
We must also remember that many other young people in Kansas and across our country who have taken their own lives. It is our responsibility to provide the support young Kansans need - no matter who they are. This time in their lives is full of new expereiences, some challenging, some joyful, some complicated. As your governor, I want you to know that I see you and I believe in you. I want you to have hope for the future.
To all the kids out there who are struggling - you are not alone. As long as I'm your governor, you will have an ally and a friend in Topeka. No matter who you are, who you love, how you identify, what you struggle with, or where you live - you matter.
Discrimination has no place in Kansas. We must all stand together to ensure our state is a place that embraces people.
I mourn with you tonight. But I promise, it will get better.