“It’s all of us against one massive problem”: Kansas woman goes on hunger strike to protest state labor department

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Kansas woman said she’s starting a hunger strike, protesting the state’s unemployment system.

The woman, Re’Nae Pherigo, drove all the way from Wellington to stand outside the Kansas Department of Labor Monday morning.

Pherigo said she’s planning to go without food until every Kansan has received their benefits. She said she’s taking a stand for the thousands of unemployed Kansans who are struggling.

“This is not all of us against the people in this building. It’s all of us against one massive problem,” Pherigo told Kansas’ Capitol Bureau.

  • Pherigo’s poster marking day one of her hunger strike
  • Pherigo preparing for long day ahead, while standing outside Kansas Department of Labor
  • Other protesters begin to join Pherigo outside Kansas’ unemployment office
  • Pherigo setting up her sign to begin strike

The state’s unemployment office is having issues paying out claims while juggling a high volume of fraud, and an outdated computer system.

The governor held a conference Monday afternoon, where she announced her efforts to secure funding to kickstart an I.T. modernization project for states burdened by outdated computer systems during the pandemic.

According to the department, every Kansan will be paid the benefits they’re owed.

Until then, Pherigo said she plans to return to the same spot and is inviting others to join as well. To learn more about her mission, click here.

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