KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As changes to the First Friday festival in the Crossroads went into place, two events were held to honor the life and memory of the woman whose death prompted them.
It’s been more than a month since 25-year-old Erin Langhofer was killed when a gunman fired nine bullets into a First Friday crowd. The Crossroads Community Association announced changes to the monthly festival following her death, citing the loss of liability insurance.
On Friday, 100 or so people connected with Healing House, a recovery support service, walked in memory of Erin, who father holds Bible study sessions for the group.
Their message: Stop the violence, Kansas City.
“People aren’t equipping their kids with the coping skills they need, and so they pull guns,” said Bobbi Jo Reed, the founder and director of Healing House. “They`re not learning how to interact with people in dialogue and work problems out.”
She said they don’t want acts of violence to scare people from attending positive community events like First Friday.
“First Fridays is something good in our community, and we came down [with our] very bright orange shirts [because] we want to light up this area,” she said.
Erin’s family church, the Church of the Resurrection, held a family fun night at their downtown campus to also celebrate Erin’s life.
“We want to show solidarity with our city, solidarity with people who have lost children and young adults to violence,” senior pastor Adam Hamilton said.
Hamilton said instead of showing fear, he wanted his congregation to be present in the community.
“We love our city, and we`re going to show up and be there and show kindness,” he said.
He said the Langhofer family is “standing strong,” adding “they’re asking how do we bring something good from this terrible tragedy?”
Two communities, touched by Erin’s life, are taking a stand against fear and violence.
“We just need to show up and let people know this is our city and we`re not going to stand for it,” Reed said.
An 18-year-old man has been charged in her murder.