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Overland Park mother hosts women's circle to help others process Chiefs rally shooting

daniella and eliana silver
Posted at 7:18 PM, Feb 23, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Not only were there tens of thousands of people at the Chiefs parade and rally, but there were tens of thousands more watching it.

Our devices opened up an entirely new world and exposed thousands more to the idea of secondhand trauma.

“It's so important for us to have open and honest conversations that violence does exist, that we get stressed, very, very stressed, because we are exposed to this type of violence on a regular basis,” said Lynette Sparkman-Barnes, a clinical psychologist with the University of Kansas Health System. “Although it might not always happen in our backyard, when we turn on the news we hear about it. When we listen to the radio, we hear about it. When you watch your favorite TV shows, you see it or you hear about it.”

The subsequent feeling of remorse, guilt, loss, anger or any uneasy emotion people feel without physically being present somewhere — that’s secondhand trauma.

It’s something Daniella Silver felt when her teenage son came home from the parade.

“He ended up coming home and running inside and saying, ‘I’m OK, my friends are OK, but there was a shooting at the parade,’” Silver said.

As a mother, hearing the news about Lisa Lopez-Galvan hit particularly hard.

Silver and her three children
Daniella Silver poses for a photo with her three children.

"As a mom, it’s not just about our own children, it’s all these children," Silver said.

That was not the first time Silver’s experienced a near-miss when it comes to a shooting.

Back in 2014, she missed the shooting at the Overland Park Jewish Community Center by minutes.

“I was two weeks away from delivering my youngest, and I was at the Jewish Community Center, and I left, and 15 minutes later I got a text message that there was a shooting there, and three people were killed," Silver said. "And I remember also feeling this like, ‘What?’”

Ten years later, she’s still asking the same things: What happened? What if I was there? Did someone I know get hurt?

“I found first, almost like this rage, like this anger that somebody created this feeling that we’re not safe," she said. "That somebody took that, even if it might be an illusion of safety, took that away from us."

As a trauma-informed meditation and yoga teacher, she’s learned to understand what her emotions mean.

“Our brain wants to protect us, and so it’s going to say, ‘Well at least you weren’t at the parade, or, it didn’t happen to you, you’re OK; just be thankful for that,’” Silver said. “But before we can get there, we have to say, ‘But I could have been there,’ and I’m deeply sad that this was taken from me, and I now have this fear in my body.”

When it comes to processing her trauma, she’s using community to do it right in her own backyard.

On Thursday night, she hosted a "women’s circle" for women in the community — some mothers like her — to convene and process their emotions together.

They sang, talked and lit candles: one for Lisa Lopez-Galvan, and one for the hostages in Israel — an issue not just close to her heart, but her daughter’s, too.

table at women's circle
Silver lit two candles at her women's circle: one for the hostages in Israel, and one for Lisa Lopez-Galvan.

“There’s a lot of things going on in the world right now, and I just hate to see the hatred,” said Eliana Silver, Daniella’s 11-year-old who wrote a song about the Israel-Hamas war on the ukulele.

“I think we should try to put out of that hatred energy, and put out more love energy,” she said.

When Daniella Silver thinks on the places she’s lived — California and Israel — Kansas City’s violence doesn’t compare.

It’s why she thinks that while it’s important to process this trauma, it doesn’t define a city she’s grown to love.

“Just because something has impacted it in this way, that’s not the essence of what the city is about,” Silver said. “We need to continue just bringing the light and the love into this city.”

Light is a key element for Silver, whose youngest daughter — the one she delivered two weeks after the JCC shooting — is named after it.

Silver and her youngest daughter
Daniella Silver and her youngest daughter, Leora.

“I knew from the shooting that no matter what, the name ‘light’ had to be in her name,” Silver said. “So in Hebrew, the word is ‘or’ which means light, so her name is Leora, which means ‘My Light,’ and she was directly named as part of transmitting the pain that we went through in our community with that shooting.”

Now that her children are older, she’s passing down this same idea of refining negative memories and turning the positive again.

It’s why she has made an effort to visit Union Station every day since Saturday.

Visiting memorial at Union Station
Silver's daughter visits Union Station memorial post shooting.

“That is such a special place to our family that to all of a sudden have that feel scary to go to was heartbreaking to me,” Silver said. “We’re not going to be afraid to go to there, and we’re going to make happy memories.”

These happy memories are something she says everyone deserves to have, but she says in order to combat secondhand trauma, it starts with validating it.

“Allow those emotions to be able to be present, and then from that, we can transmute it and bring it back to a place of love,” Silver said.

To learn more about Silver's women circles and how to get connected, visit her Instagram page.