Kansas City Strong

It was a glorious day here in Kansas City.  Still on a serious high from a remarkable Super Bowl win (back-to-back and the third in five years!), I, along with millions of my fellow Kansas Citians proudly donned our Championship merch in celebration of the victory parade and rally held at Union Station.  Whether cheering on our home team along the parade route, in the grandstands, or watching from our couches, the mood was light, everyone was smiling, the atmosphere was electric!  We do love our Chiefs!

And, then, tragedy.  Shots were fired on the west side of Union Station.  As of this writing, at least one victim of the shooting has died (a mother of two), 21 more people were injured – at least 11 of whom are children, and millions are left traumatized.  As the Kansas City Police Chief, Stacey Graves, said, “This is not Kansas City.”  I am deeply saddened.

Family and friends, both locally and around the world have reached out.  “Are you OK?”  “Were you at the parade?”  “You all safe?”  “Please respond letting me know you and yours are fine.”  Those were some of the messages.  Thank you – yes, my crew is safe and sound.  I’m so grateful for each message received; I’m so sorry you had to send them.

Therein lies the rub… so much senseless violence in our world.  I am left dumbstruck by the inanity of it all.  What I am inspired by, however, is what emerges out of these moments:  Connection, humanity, care, concern, and loads of love.  A community – near and far – rallies together. 

This is not the first time I have felt this deep sense of loss, sadness, and rage as a result of violence.  In 2014, hate-driven murders were perpetrated at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom, two organizations in my community on whose boards I sat at the time.  The father and son of a dear friend were among the three victims.  My world was rocked then – much as it was today.  It spurred me to become heavily involved in an organization called SevenDays which works to overcome hatred by promoting kindness and understanding through education and dialogue.  Unfortunately, it is clear we have more work to do.

Friends – don’t wait until tragedy strikes to reach out.  Tell one another how much you care – do it right now.  And, please, let’s stop the hatred and violence.  There is simply no reason for it. 

That this all happened on Valentine’s Day adds a little extra layer of grief.  Please, join me to spread a little more love today.  I hope you and yours are safe and unharmed.  Sending my love to you…

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