Mayor issues letter on Israel-Hamas war, supporting community

Mayor Curt Skoog shares the letter below with the Overland Park community:

Dear Overland Park community,

I write this open letter to acknowledge and share that many of our neighbors and coworkers are profoundly suffering. This last week, I sat across the table and heard from Palestinian and Jewish members of our community. They shared their very personal stories of fear and loss surrounding conflict in the Middle East. They fear their children may be targets of hate and retribution while in school, and of being accosted in public. Many have personal connections with family members and friends that have been killed, injured and taken hostage. I heard horrific and heartbreaking stories, including of many women and children dying.

As members of a welcoming community, I ask you to show compassion for all who are suffering. I encourage everyone to reach out and care for neighbors, colleagues and friends. Our acknowledgement of their pain and suffering will hopefully alleviate the sense of isolation and fear. 

Unfortunately, we must also be vigilant for those who want to take advantage of the situation by spreading hate and causing violence. Since October 7, the FBI has seen an increase in reports of threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities and institutions. As a City, we are actively working to protect every member of our community. It is all of our responsibility to do everything in our power to dissuade this wave of hatred and to promote civility and kindness in our community.

Now is the time to demonstrate love and compassion. Let’s show the world that Overland Park cares for all those who are suffering.

Possible actions:

  • Text and phone friends to check in
  • Listen to neighbors experiences and feelings
  • Support coworkers with understanding and patience

Thank you all for making Overland Park an amazing place to live and work.

In your service,

Curt Skoog

City of Overland Park, Kansas