Kansas City Joins Nationwide Vigil For Rezwan Kohistani, Afghan Refugee Found Hung at Missouri High School

KANSAS CITY, MO – KC Muslim Civic Initiative is hosting a vigil on Thursday, July 14th at 8 pm at the Colonnade at Concourse Park, 200 Benton Avenue, Kansas City, MO in remembrance of Rezwan Kohistani, a recently resettled Afghan teen who was found hung on the grounds of his high school in Webb City, Missouri.

The Kansas City vigil will happen simultaneously with vigils in 7 major cities across the US, serving as a united call in demanding a thorough and transparent investigation into the tragic and untimely death of Rezwan Kohistani.

“Afghans and Muslims in the KC area and across the country are heartbroken by the untimely death of 14 year old Rezwan Kohistani, a young Afghan Muslim evacuee who was found hanged at Webb City High School  on May 5, 2022,” said the KC Muslim Civic Initiative.

“His family was recently resettled by the US government in Webb City, Missouri after fleeing Afghanistan in August 2021. With the recent death of their eldest son, the Kohistani family is devastated and deserves answers from Webb City law enforcement and the school district.”

Two months have passed since Rezwan’s death, yet the Kohistani family’s lawyer, Bill Fleischaker, has only recently been provided a police report and nothing else, the group said.

“Information from community members who have come forward conflicts with some of the facts presented in the police report. In addition, the Webb City school district and law enforcement have failed to properly investigate the bullying Rezwan experienced as a student at Webb City High School. In short, the police report raises questions about the possibility of the Kohistani family receiving a thorough and unbiased accounting of their son’s final hours. The family deserves a full and thorough investigation, regardless of their background as evacuees (refugees).”

The group went on to say, “since Rezwan’s death, Muslims in Kansas City are concerned about bullying and isolation towards our Muslim and refugee youth. Currently over 79,000 Afghan evacuees have been paroled into the US and resettled across the country in regions hostile to immigrants and their school-aged children. Bullying threatens students’ physical and emotional safety at school and negatively impacts their ability to learn. These were emotions that Rezwan shared with his family and sought to change school locations. Webb City school officials and staff failed Rezwan and his family by not taking action and preventing or directly confronting the bullying Rezwan experienced at Webb City High.”

“Refugee and Muslim students continue to experience and report higher rates of discrimination and bullying compared to other students. All cities in the US where Afghan refugee students are resettled should train school staff and students to prevent and address bullying. We hope this vigil is the first step in achieving that.” 

KC Muslim Civic Initiative

The public is encouraged to make donations to the Kohistani family at their official GoFundMe.

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