March for Science to be held at Kansas City’s Washington Square Park on Earth Day

A March for Science will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 22 at Washington Square Park, at Pershing Road and Grand Boulevard.
A March for Science will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 22 at Washington Square Park, at Pershing Road and Grand Boulevard. The Kansas City Star

More than a thousand people are expected to gather at Washington Square Park in the name of science on April 22, when a series of March for Science events commences across the country on Earth Day.

Like similarly named marches organized around other issues in the wake of the national election, the March for Science events are in part a response to Trump administration actions that participants think threaten scientific study.

But the event also aims to celebrate and explore the value that scientific research and advancement adds to everyday life, said organizer Ian Shea-Cahir, as well the diverse, nonpartisan group of people who don’t want to see science stunted or ignored.

“We come from all parts of the spectrum and that’s what we are trying our hardest to show, that data is data and science is science,” Shea-Cahir said.

Momentum for a national March for Science event, billed as a movement to “defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies and government,” in Washington, D.C., grew after the Trump administration made several decisions ranging from proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency to appointing Cabinet members known for denying or downplaying climate change.

More than 100 marches are planned throughout the country. On a Facebook event page for the Kansas City march, roughly 1,800 people have indicated they are going.

“It was clear that there was both an appetite and a need for people to show that some of the decisions being made specifically in regards to science and scientific funding were unacceptable,” Shea-Cahir said. “The administration needs to know people aren’t going to stand for it.”

Organized by volunteers and community members, the event in Kansas City will include speakers, information booths and a Kids Zone with science-based activities for families.

Among the speakers: Roy Jensen, director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center; Yvette d’Entremont, a science advocate known as SciBabe online; Kenneth Peterson, director of the Center for Epigenetics and Stem Cell Biology at University of Kansas Medical Center; Kansas state Rep. Brett Park, an Olathe Democrat and science teacher; and state Sen. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican and retired doctor.

The event also will include presentations from community members who submitted stories about why science is important to them through the social media hashtag #WhyIMarch. The free rally is planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Washington Square Park.

“We march because science isn’t a luxury that can be left behind,” Jennifer Pace, one of the march’s organizers, said in a statement. “Science is life, and it is terrifying to think that our country is on the brink of moving backward in such a profound manner.”

Katy Bergen: 816-234-4120, @KatyBergen