Words by Jess Lynk | Photos by Genna Clemen  | Reporting by Katherine Bauer 

This is a follow-up to a multimedia story about the hate crime in Overland Park. Read about the tragedy here.  

Kansas City, Missouri – A sea of people in blue shirts stand in front of the World War I Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.

The crowd gathers for the SevenDays “Faith, Love & Walk” event. The walk launched after a hate crime on April 13, 2014, that ended with the loss of three lives. By looking at the community converging on April 16, 2018, for the walk, an outsider would never know the start began from hostility.

People walk outside of the World War 1 memorial. The skyline of Kansas City, Missouri backdrops the event.

However, small signs remind the crowd of the victims lost that day.

Fourteen charitable organizations line the sides of the stage, signifying the age of Reat Underwood, the youngest victim.

Reat Underwood’s cousin presents the American flag with his Boy Scout Troop. A recording of Reat singing the national anthem played before the walk.

The families of the three victims stand on the stairs watching KSHB-TV anchor and emcee of the event, Christa Dubill.

“We each have our own personal need to move onwards,” Dubill says. “We hope you find your onward today together.”

Onward is the word of day. Whether participants know it or not, they are a part of a narrative of a community moving forward after tragedy.

Read onward to see why people got involved in the walk that day.

“I got involved with KCIYA (Kansas City Interfaith Youth Alliance) after the shooting. It’s helped through education, because they’ve had workshops with kids and adults, teaching each other about our faiths and who we are.” - Syeda Mahnoor, involved in KCIYA
“I really care about this, and it’s a really beautiful thing.” -Makenzie Haun, Member of Jewish and Blue Valley Community
“Right off the bat, there were students who knew Reat himself. There was a student at my school who started out making wristbands. The youth board wasn’t a thing at the time, and then SevenDays came around later that year. Just volunteering and participating got me involved.” -Syed Hussain, member of KCIYA youth board
“I knew Reat a long time ago. We were in the same Boy Scout Troop. We ran in the same circles. I’ve been to the walk every year that it’s been. Now I’ve had the chance to serve on the leadership committee.” --Jack Reeves, member of KCIYA youth board
“I’ve been a part of it from the beginning. We couldn’t have done this without people who were a part of it and willing to put in days, weeks, and months to make a ripple.” -Melinda Corporon, wife of William Corporon
“My son is the same age as Reat, and he went to school with Reat. So they were friends since they were little. It hit our family strongly. I had just gotten to know Mindy and that made me want to get involved. I loved Mindy’s message of wanting to turn something bad into something positive.” -Jill Andersen, volunteer at the SevenDays, “Faith, Love & Walk”
“I think it’s amazing. It’s a beautiful message, taking something negative and making it positive.” -Becky Gatapia, walk attendee
“I didn’t know about the shooting. [The walk is] fun. It’s unique to see everyone come together and enjoy this beautiful day.” - Jad Rowles, Operation Breakthrough volunteer
“We come out here every year for the event. It’s humbling. It’s great. [Mindy’s] amazing, super strong. Every event this week was really well attended and very positive. This to me is just amazing, and it’s beautiful. We’re in such a crappy time right now. So to see this is awesome.” -Gael Martin, sister of William Corporon
(LEFT) “I work at the high school. And everyone goes all out, and they fully embrace for ‘others’ and ‘connect’ and ‘onward.’ Especially because it’s so positive. It was sad, but now it’s positive.” --Deanna Lenz, teacher at Blue Valley High School (RIGHT)“I was in theater with Reat in middle school. I knew a lot of people who were involved with this great organization. I see a lot of my school, and we do the SevenDays for kindness.” --Elyssa Lenz, friend of Reat
“Since Mindy was already on this path, she became that support. She helped me through my difficult phase. She was always there for me. That’s why I’m here. We both are for the same message. Once you are in [those] shoes, you know what it means to lose your loved one. You don’t want the rest of the community to go through the same thing. Now that I know what it feels like, I don’t want others to go through the same thing. This is how we want to honor our loved ones.” -Sunayana Dumala, wife of Olathe shooting victim
Jim LaManno, husband of Terri LaManno, a victim in the hate crime, attends the walk every year.
Mindy Corporon and her husband Len Losen stand and watch the pre-walk ceremony.
Nesreen Talib sits at one of the organization booths to talk about the Muslim faith.
Jill Andersen stands to cheer on walkers.