For Immediate Release
May 14, 2022
Buffalo, NY – LIVE FREE, Life Camp, and several members of the Black and Brown Peace Consortium today expressed condolences to victims and their families who were killed or impacted by a domestic terrorist attack at an upstate New York grocery store. The groups decried the mass shooting in Buffalo, NY that left 10 people, all Black, dead, and three people wounded.
“To show up at my neighborhood grocery to see my neighbors victimized by this racial terror is devastating,” said the Rev. Denise Walden, executive director of Voice Buffalo. “I am with families who are still trying to identify their youth and family members who are among the slain. God help us.”
Life Camp, LIVE FREE and Voice Buffalo announced a 9:30 a.m. vigil on Sunday, May 15 at the Tops grocery where the massacre occurred. The event will be led by Rev. Charles Walker. Life Camp will also bring its peace-mobile to Buffalo on Sunday to provide on-the-group trauma assistance.
“This is very overwhelming,” said Tyrell Ford, a LIVE FREE organizer with Voice Buffalo. “We literally do not know if our loved ones or friends are among the impacted. We are in a state of shock and panic.”
The shooting comes at a time of increasing mass shootings. As of April 2022, there were already 140 mass shootings in the United States. “It also comes amid Mental Health Awareness month, and the significance of that is there is a shortage of Black and Brown and culturally competent mental health professionals in Buffalo,” said Rana Ryan, a licensed certified clinical psychotherapist with Life Camp and resident of Buffalo. Even before this tragedy, there was a dearth of resources to help Black people in Buffalo process grief and trauma. Now, the situation is likely to get worse.
“What is most troubling about this situation is that this community was already under-resourced,” Ryan said. “The grief and healing work that will be required is massive.”
“The Black and Brown Peace Consortium has worked for years to address gun violence in Black and Brown communities across the country,” said the Rev. Michael McBride, executive director of LIVE FREE. “That another instance of white racial terror has been introduced to an already traumatized and under-resourced community is as appalling as it is frightening.”
LIVE FREE and other members of the Black and Brown Peace Consortium have been active in Buffalo for years. LIVE FREE held a Justice & Belonging Lab in the city on May 6 to offer strategies for ending gun violence and promoting stronger communities.
“We had no idea that one week after our Justice & Belonging event, our community would be mourning, this time white racial terror,” McBride said. “Additionally, the city of Milwaukee is also reeling from a mass shooting there that resulted in 17 people wounded.”