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On April 13, 2014, we lost three members of our community to a crime fueled by hate.

Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his grandson Reat Griffin Underwood were killed in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Campus, where Reat was to audition for a singing competition at the Jewish Community Center. Terri LaManno was killed in the parking lot of Village Shalom, where her mother lived. These senseless tragedies were followed by an overwhelming show of unity and support for the families, including a memorial service four days later attended by more than 1,000 people of all faiths and ethnicities. Clearly, people throughout our community were feeling a terrible sense of loss.

During this time, the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom began to receive financial contributions in memory of the shooting victims. In the weeks immediately following the tragedy, these funds were donated to organizations supported by the Corporon and LaManno families. It was decided by staff and lay leaders that funds received after this period would be pooled to provide the seed money to create a public memorial on the site of the Jewish Community Campus. Thus we began this project with approximately 20% of the funds required for its completion.

The artwork selected for the memorial is inspired by the movement founded by the Corporon family, Seven Days: Make a Ripple, Change the World.

A gift to help fund the living memorial to Reat, William and Terri was set up to help remember their lives and continue their impact. Donations made underwrote the construction of the memorial, endowed its permanent maintenance and created funds to sponsor education and programming to fulfill the mission of creating a ripple for love, kindness and understanding.

Reat Griffin Underwood Rising Stars Fund

The Reat Griffin Underwood Rising Stars Fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation is designated to fund the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City’s Reat Griffin Underwood Rising Star Program by supporting Jewish Community Center education, theater and training programs that help youth 21-years-old and younger explore their dreams and goals in the Performing Arts, and by providing coaching for contestants for KC SuperStar.

When you support The J, you are a partner in EDUCATING, ENGAGING, EMPOWERING and EXPANDING our community. We thank you for allowing us to join you in keeping Reat’s spirit alive through sharing his love for the Performing Arts with other Kansas City-area youth.

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More about the memorial art selection process

A task force comprised of leaders from the Jewish Community Campus, the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom joined prominent members of the local art community and family members of the victims to engage in a highly structured selection process. After careful consideration, this group enthusiastically selected a design by sculptor Jesse Small.

We believe Jesse’s piece, located in a public outdoor space, will bring a sense of closure to the families of the victims and to our community. It will create a sacred space on the Jewish Community Campus where people of all ages, faiths and ethnicities will receive a message of love, optimism and the power of community collaboration for positive change in our world. Teachers, clergy and youth group leaders will use it for positive inspiration and a venue for educational programs, friendship circles and faith-based programming. For these and other, more personal reasons, we believe it will be a destination for residents of Kansas City and visitors to the area. – Memorial Art Task Force

My central idea is the circular dynamic of ripples spreading out.  This was inspired by the group’s mission statement to promote love and kindness spreading across the land as ripples in water and my desire for people to experience the memorial as a dynamic beacon for change that is ongoing and positive.– Sculptor Jesse Small

By making a contribution to this project, you join individuals and organizations across the greater Kansas City area who are committed to love, kindness and understanding. And like the sculpture, a beacon to promote positive change. 

For a press release regarding the Memorial Art Installation, please click here>

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