Are you interested in connecting with community to prove the power of love, faith, community and determination? Then join me for SevenDays 2016! For those of you in the Kansas City Metro area, please mark your calendars for SevenDays 2016 from Tuesday, April 12th – Monday, April 18th. If you are not in the area, but would like to join us… please do! Kansas City is gorgeous in April. And, watch for my recap following the event, especially if you are not able to attend in person. First, some background…
Two years ago at this time, a tragedy befell my community. A lone shooter pulled into the parking lot of the Jewish Community Campus and murdered Dr. William Corporon and his grandson, Reat Underwood, as the young man was preparing to audition for a high school singing competition being sponsored by the Jewish Community Center. From there, this madman turned south and drove about a mile more to Village Shalom, a retirement community, where he shot and killed Terri Lamanno who had been visiting her mother. Hatred had a devastating impact on my town that Sunday afternoon… but the perpetrator of this hate crime did not win… instead of instilling fear, as he had hoped, the broad community banded together, propped up one another and unified to show its mettle and support for our diverse city.
Once again this year, in an act of community-wide solidarity, support and love for one another, with the partnership of a number of organizations, including the Jewish Community Campus and Village Shalom, the families of the victims of the April 13, 2014 shooting have spearheaded a week-long series of events and activities called SevenDays. SevenDays is a challenge for young and old, to embrace diversity across races, religions and cultures. This group of caring individuals hopes to promote understanding and encourage kindness to “Make a Ripple to Change the World.” Count me in!
Please join us for any or all of the below listed events… It would mean so much to me to see you there! More details are available at our website: GiveSevenDays.org. Additionally, if you are interested in volunteering during SevenDays, please consider signing up for a variety of such opportunities.
- Tuesday, April 12th – “Actually, What Is Interfaith? A Community Event” (Time: 7-9pm; Location: Rockhurst High School Rose Theater) Join us as we kick off a week of SevenDays activities with founder of the Elijah Interfaith Institute in Israel, Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, who will address the question, “Actually, what is interfaith?” The evening will be emceed by Former US Ambassador to Portugal and founder of American Public Square, Allan Katz. The event is co-hosted by The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council. A reception will follow the talk.
- Wednesday, April 13th – “Keeping Our Loved Ones’ Spirits Alive. A Community Breakfast” (Time: 7:30-9am; Location: Sunlight Day Spa) Join us for breakfast and an intimate conversation with local authors, Mary Lucas (Lunchmeat and Life Lessons) and Lisa Kolias Cooper (You Are My Voice, How Love’s Voice Never Dies), about coping with loss and meaningful ways to keep alive the spirits of our loved ones. Please RSVP here (http://ow.ly/10kvG2) if you plan to attend. [NOTE: Parking at Sunlight Day Spa is available in the east and north parking lots. Overflow parking is available at Comfort Inn directly across from Sunlight Day Spa.]
- Thursday, April 14th – “Bring Community Together. Overcome Hate. A Community Event” (Time: 7-9pm; Location: Church of the Resurrection Student Center, Building C) Hosted in conjunction with The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, join us as we hear from former North Carolina State Senator Malcolm Graham who lost his sister, Cynthia Graham Hurd, in the shootings at the AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Now, he serves as a vocal advocate for overcoming hate and ensuring the enduring spirits and voices of the victims. We will hear his inspirational perspective on bringing together our nationwide community. A reception will follow Senator Graham’s remarks.
- Friday, April 15th – “Life: A Good Thing to Give. Jewish Sabbath Services with featured speaker, Mindy Corporon” (Time: 6-8pm; Location: Congregation Beth Torah) The community is invited to attend Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath) services at Congregation Beth Torah in celebration of SevenDays. During services, Mindy Corporon will deliver a talk on faith, navigating through grief and the importance of organ and tissue donation – a topic of great meaning to her and her late son, Reat Griffin Underwood. Light refreshments will be served from 6-6:30pm; services will begin at 6:30pm.
- Saturday, April 16th – “Youth Interfaith Workshop” (Time: 5:30-9pm; Location: Cleveland University Dining Assembly Hall) Students aged 14-20 are invited to attend the SevenDays Youth Interfaith Dinner and Workshop to interact and learn skills for finding common ground around shared values on which to build collaborative efforts of social action. Values such as compassion, hospitality, and caring for the Earth become cooperative service opportunities to engage across the boundaries of religious groups. The workshop will provide skills on how to encourage youth to work together through service projects, bringing people of different faiths together to take common action for the common good.
- Sunday, April 17th – “Survival, Perseverance & Optimism. A Community Event” (Time: 2-4pm; Location: Heritage United Methodist Church) Spend your Sunday afternoon with Holocaust Survivor, Sonia Warshawski, in an intimate conversation with her daughter, Regina Kort, as she shares her moving story of survival, perseverance and optimism.
- Sunday, April 17th – “Understanding Our Muslim Neighbors. A Community Event” (Time: 7-8:30pm; Location: Cleveland University Dining Assembly Hall) On Sunday evening, SevenDays will host a special discussion to foster understanding with our Muslim neighbors. Join us for a panel moderated by Mahnaz Shabbir, featuring local members of the Muslim community, Imam Bilal Muhammed and high school junior Belal Jamil.
- Monday, April 18th – Peace Walk and Celebration (Recommended Arrival Time: 4:00pm – 5:45pm; Pre-Walk Celebration: 4:45pm – 6:15pm; Walk Time: 6:30pm; Parking available at Church of the Resurrection; Walk begins at Jewish Community Center) Let’s walk together as a society, embrace our diversity and unite as a community. Join us as we stand against hate. We must gather as ripples of Faith, Love & Kindness and move ONWARD as an unstoppable wave of change. Distance: Approximately 3.5 miles. Pre-registration is required.