Hundreds crowded into the Wild Prairie Event Center in Newton Monday for the Heartland Freedom Revival, a symposium sponsored by Kansans for Health Freedom. Its goal was to empower Kansans to make informed health decisions for themselves.
Organizers created Kansas for Health Freedom in 2017 to head off potential legislation to mandate that adults have up-to-date vaccination regimens and require additional vaccinations, like the HPV vaccination, in order to attend schools. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has re-energized the group and sparked renewed interest in its mission:
“We are for parental rights, human rights, and religious freedom,” the mission statement reads. “We are for health choice, health privacy, and meaningful informed consent.”
Debbie Mize, Vice President of Kansans for Health Freedom, said the group really organized in 2017 in response to a far-reaching federal program, Healthy People 2020, that seeks to increase vaccination rates in the U.S. Mize worries that not all of those efforts are educational. Instead, they seek to use backdoor mandates. For instance, disallowing individuals from getting a driver’s license or be insured without certain vaccinations.
“They could take away your rights if you don’t get informed,” Mize said.
More than 850 people attended Monday’s full-day event, listening to speakers tell personal stories about their businesses damaged by COVID lockdowns and mask mandates, illnesses related to vaccinations, and how making healthy choices each day can contribute to better immune systems.
Britney Valas owns a restaurant in Johnson County that opened shortly before the COVID shutdown. She told the audience that it’s time to take control of their own health and lives. Her business is open again, and she recently started a co-op to help educate her kids. She had a message for the Governor.
“If you try to shut us down again, this is one business that is not closing those doors. Ever,” she said. “One mother who is not pulling my kids out of school. This is one school that will not shut down.”
Legislators were among the attendees. Rep. Trevor Jacobs, a Fort Scott Republican, opened the Freedom Revival event. Rep. Stephen Owens, a Newton Republican, stopped in.
“When you think about what this organization stands for, it’s for freedom,” he said. “…The silent majority has been silent for too long, and now that COVID has come along, I think it’s even more instrumental than before. I think it’s fantastic that we have a group like this that is willing to stand and be heard and not be afraid to be vocal.”
A host of medical professionals provided information to the group on more holistic, natural approaches to healthcare, and attendees watched a showing of the film, “1986: The Act.”
The film documents how the 1986 V Injury Act morphed from a proposal to hold drug companies liable for injuries caused by inoculations to legislation to protect pharmaceutical companies from liability.
A day later, Mize is still processing what she calls an “amazing day.”
“I believe I am more aware than ever that all people desire freedom,” she said. “I want to now personally reach out to find common ground with people no matter their political party.”