Dozens gather in Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza for pro-Palestine vigil
In bright-colored chalk, Kansas Citians wrote the names and ages of several dead children onto the concrete rim around the fountain in Mill Creek Park.
They were honoring those reportedly killed in Gaza amid the latest round of violence marking the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Roughly 75 people gathered for a vigil there on Tuesday evening, lighting candles in remembrance, amid a show of support for Kansas City’s Palestinian community as the violence overseas continues.
Some came bearing signs with messages supporting the liberation of Palestinians. Many chanted “Free, free Palestine.” Others shared stories of a personal connection to the land.
“These are not numbers. These are not statistics,” said Sara Jo, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent who spoke to the crowd. “These numbers are human.”
The fighting has so far killed at least 213 Palestinians and 12 people in Israel, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. Meanwhile, officials with President Joe Biden’s administration have been pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials to wind down the bombardment of Gaza as the death toll has risen.
Among those attending Kansas City’s Tuesday vigil was Azizah Mahdi, a mother of four young children who lives in Lee’s Summit. She has family living in the West Bank, but says “any Palestinian is my family.”
Mahdi said her own children are coming to understand the history of the conflict more through the recent news. The family visited there seven years ago, she recalled, and because they are American were privileged enough to visit the holy sites some of their family born and raised there have never seen.
As part of the vigil, attendees were given a list with the names of the children killed in recent days. Mahdi’s son, Aows, looked it over, finding a 7-year-old. He wrote it down on the fountain’s north side.
“He was trying to choose kids with ages that are close to him,” Mahdi said.
The vigil was the second such display supporting Palestine in Kansas City in the space of a week after a rally Saturday drew an estimated 200 people. Others have recently been held in major cities across the country, some bringing crowds in the hundreds or thousands, including in Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.