Mourning Victims of the Shooting in Buffalo

Ruth Whitfield, 86. Pearl Young, 77. Deacon Heyward “Tenny” Patterson, 77. Katherine “Kat” Massey, 72. Celestine Chaney, 65. Geraldine Talley, 62. Aaron Salter Jr., 55. Andre Mackniel, 53. Margus Morrison, 52. Roberta Drury, 32.

These are the names of the ten Black people who were simply shopping for groceries at a Tops supermarket on the East Side of Buffalo, a predominately Black neighborhood, when their lives were stolen by a young white supremacist this past Saturday. We deeply mourn the victims of this violent hate crime and terrorist act, and we stand in solidarity with their families, friends, and community members experiencing anger, fear, and grief at this moment.

This attack was very clearly racially motivated and it sadly wasn’t the first, nor the last that we will bear witness to. The young people we work with are forced to live in a culture of hate that continues churning poisonous rhetoric and making our world unsafe. Though youth are leading the movement to end white supremacy and gun violence, their efforts are consistently thwarted by politicians and media personalities who spew vitriol for political power and treat human beings as expendable.

We must stop the radicalization of young white men, stoked by racist ideology. We must hold people in power, the media, and companies with platforms accountable for enabling, inspiring, and contributing to the racial violence that transpired over the weekend. Until then, we will see no change. Until then, our young people will continue working towards justice – towards a world where Black folks can live free from systematic violence, racism, and dehumanization.