We Mourn with and Support Buffalo’s Black Community

Two candles lit against a black background

Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of the tragic hate crime that took place on Saturday, May 14—the mass shooting of Black Buffalo residents at a Tops grocery store. With deep sorrow, we grieve the loss of life. This shooting was an unabashed and explicit act of white supremacy.  

As a friend and civil rights defender working in community with organizations like Black Love Resists in the Rust (BLRR) since 2017 and the Fair Fines and Fees Coalition (FFFC) since 2019, we renew our solidarity and commitment to communities of color in Buffalo who have long endured racism and inequality and fiercely fight against it every single day. 

The tragic shooting on Saturday is not just a mass shooting. It signals that white supremacy is becoming mainstream. And white supremacist ideologies, including “replacement theory”, are gaining speed with a young generation of white Americans, seeding long-standing anti-Black racism in future generations. 

From our years of work with BLRR and FFFC, we have learned the ins and outs of how Black and Brown people in Buffalo experience inequity—including housing segregation, unequal access to jobs and economic stability, racial profiling, education discrimination, as well as wealth extraction and criminalization through unjust fines and fees. Among many community-driven efforts to combat racism and support Black livelihood in Buffalo, BLRR acts as a political and organizing home for Black and Brown people with its mission to eliminate the harms of the Buffalo Police Department. And FFFC fights the fines and fees that are used to criminalize, incarcerate, and economically punish low-income Black people and people of color.  

In the backdrop of this racially-motivated mass shooting, institutional acknowledgment of racism in policing has begun thanks to the tireless work of BLRR, FFFC, and Buffalo’s Black community. Just before Saturday, the Buffalo Common Council confirmed what Black community has long known: Black residents are racially profiled by police traffic stops at alarming rates. 

Our outrage at the daily harms of racism and inequity in Buffalo is deepened as we mourn alongside Buffalonians in grief. We will work harder than ever with grassroots leaders to seek justice for Black Buffalo communities. 

If you are looking to support local Black organizations in Buffalo, please consider supporting BLRR, Black-led food drives, and other Black-led groups calling for direct aid.