KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An Olathe couple's love story interrupted by hate and murder is transforming into a new movement promoting acceptance and love.
Sunayana Kuchibhotla and her late husband, Srinu, are from India. Srinu was murdered four years-ago at Austin’s Bar and Grille in Olathe, by a man witnesses say shot Srinu after calling him racist names.
Now in honor of her late husband’s legacy, Sunayana has started a foundation called, Forever Welcome, which will work to help refugees feel welcome in the Kansas City area.
“Four years ago when the incident happened, I asked the question, 'Do we belong?' and the answer to which was yes I do," Kuchibhotla said. "The community at large helped me in finding that answer. The way that they supported myself, my family and everybody by providing an outpouring of love and care that has shown to us to say that we do belong here - this is very much your home. I wanted to give this message back and also the desire and the urge to keep Srinu alive and to continue his legacy was also so deep inside myself that I cannot let people forget him."
Her husband would have turned 37 this month.
“It's sad that he (Srinu) is not with us today, but I am glad that I am going to take his legacy forward and continue to show the world a glimpse of him and the kindness and the optimism that he showed,” Kuchibhotla said.
Forever Welcome is partnering with KC For Refugees, which is also an organization that works for the welfare of refugees in Kansas City. Sunayana is asking people to donate personal care products or make a $40 donation to buy one welcome gift bag.
You can also contribute to the Forever Welcome GoFundMe page.
“We've had tremendous response on our go fund me page. I am extremely thankful to all the donors and for their generosity in supporting our mission to honor Srinu and to make a difference in our community,” Kuchibhotla said.
Residents can drop off donations from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 6, at 8006 Mullen Rd in Lenexa.