Published: May 17, 2022 By

CAAAS Director Statement on the Mass Shooting in Buffalo, New York

The Center for African and African American Studies (CAAAS) mourns those who were murdered in the racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, on May 14, 2022. We grieve with their families, friends, and everyone who is suffering the physical, psychological, and emotional wounds of this heinous hate crime. We are morally outraged by the seemingly never-ending wave after wave of anti-Black racist violence and racial terrorism that have plagued Black people in America since 1619. We thought that after the murders of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Freddie Gray people would see that Black Lives Matter is more than a slogan. Indeed, it is a much-needed ongoing movement. We thought that after Sandra Bland, Marissa Alexander, Korryn Gaines, Rekia Boyd, and Aiyana Jones unjustly lost their lives things would change. We honestly thought that after Dylann Roof and the Charleston church massacre in 2015, after James Alex Fields and the Charlottesville car attack in 2017, and after the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in 2020 America and the world had progressed. Today, we are emotionally devastated and deeply discouraged. We are racked with grief and profound sorrow. Many of our family members and friends are afraid to do something as simple as going to the grocery store for fear of their life being threatened.

We say their names:

Aaron Salter, 55

Ruth Whitfield, 86

Pearly Young, 77

Katherine Massey, 72

Deacon Heyward Patterson, 67

Celestine Chaney, 65

Roberta A. Drury, 32

Margus D. Morrison, 52

Andre Mackneil, 53

Geraldine Talley, 62

We seek solidarity, support, and prayer.

We are deeply disheartened by the pervasive nature of anti-Black racism and White supremacist ideology and violence. Even in the midst of our grief, there are many of us, myself included, who maintain our unquenchable commitments to bringing into being a multiracial and multicultural American democracy. We are in sincere solidarity with all oppressed, exploited, and racially colonized people who are fighting for their liberation, and, indeed, we know that our histories and destinies are intertwined. In the spirit of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, we will not be deterred. In fact, after we rest, we will sustain our efforts and continue to search for solutions to our most pressing social and political problems. In other words, in our moment of mourning, we send our support to the families of the massacred and express our solidarity with all others who are also being rocked by various and intersecting forms of racism (sexism, xenophobia, heterosexism, queerphobia, etc.).

We humbly hope the work we are doing in the Center for African and African American Studies will in some way serve as a memorial to those massacred in Buffalo and an inspiration to those committed to bringing a better world into being.

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