Songwriting contest hopes to spur healing after Jewish community - KCTV5 News

Songwriting contest hopes to spur healing after Jewish community shootings

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OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

The anniversary of the fatal shootings at two Jewish community sites will be marked with a series of events over the next week that are aimed to spur healing.

Seven Days will include a songwriting contest called Make a Ripple Change the World. Reat Underwood, 14, and his grandfather were headed to a singing competition at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park when they were gunned down. A white supremacist has said he didn't mean to kill the teen when he was hunting for Jews to kill.

Reat and his grandfather, William Corporon, were Christians as was Terri Lamanno who was gunned down while visiting her ailing mother at Village Shalom.

Dr. Ekkehard Othmer and his wife, Siglinda, are spearheading the contest. Othmer was taught by Jews during the Hitler era in his native Germany so this is personal for him.

"It's often surprising how young people think. And we need to understand that and we have to give them our ear," Othmer said. "We have to break down barriers between us. If we don't do that, then we may hear bullets that talk to us rather than words."

His wife says the competition has left her hopeful for the future.

"If we can foster this positive thinking through the teenage years and into adulthood, we have it made," she said.

To read more about Seven Days, click here. To read more about the songwriting contest, click here and here.

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