Nearly a year after three people were shot to death outside the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom in Overland Park, the victims’ families have helped organize a week of remembrance and healing in April.
William Corporon, 69, his grandson Reat Underwood, 14, and Terri LaManno, 53, were gunned down last spring. A self-described anti-Semite is accused of the killings.
“When our family members were killed, we were enveloped by our community with huge hugs and lots of love,” said Mindy Corporon, whose father and teenage son were killed outside the community center in the April 13, 2014, shootings.
Now the families have joined with two foundations — Racial and Religious Acceptance and Cultural Equality, and Faith Always Wins — to organize a week of activities to overcome acts of hate.
They hope the event — SevenDays: Make a Ripple, Change the World — will become annual. This year it runs April 7-13.
“We want to give that love back and make it go further to show other communities and the rest of the world what our community looks like,” Corporon said.
She said each day will have a theme that relates to love, faith, kindness and remembrance. SevenDays, she said, is a challenge for people to embrace diversity across races, religions and cultures.
“We are more alike than we are different,” Corporon said. “Our goal is to change what people think only if they think killing someone is the right thing to do.”
Jim LaManno, whose wife, Terri, was killed outside Village Shalom, said he hopes that “random acts of kindness will overcome random acts of hate. To turn one ripple of kindness into an unstoppable wave of faith and love.”
The week includes a songwriting contest for people 14 to 21 years old. The entries will be original compositions about racial, religious and cultural equality and acceptance.
SevenDays will also sponsor several speakers, including Jacqueline Murekatete, a survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and Sonia Grynsztejn Warshawski, a Holocaust survivor.
A main event will be the Peace Walk at 5:45 p.m. April 13.
Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach and Kansas City Mayor Sly James are expected to speak before the walk at the Jewish Community Center campus. To register and get more information about SevenDays, go to givesevendays.org.
Before the event was announced Tuesday, a judge ruled that F. Glenn Miller Jr. would stand trial for last year’s killings. He is charged with three counts of capital murder.