A predominantly Black community in neighboring Buffalo, NY was terrorized by a racially motivated, targeted mass shooting by a white domestic terrorist.
His criminal act was driven by his hate for Black people and thoughts of White people being replaced. This is not a single act of violence towards Black people in America, it is an ongoing pattern of violence that Black people have faced since being kidnapped from Africa in 1619 and brought here in bondage via the Transatlantic Slave Trade. According to the ADL, white supremacists are responsible for almost 75% of right-wing extremist killings over the past 10 years.
As a Black man in America, these types of violent acts are a part of my inheritance as well as my children’s. When will this stop? It will only stop when White America truly faces and addresses one of America’s greatest sins, the enslavement of Black people on these lands and the systemic racism that was birthed from it. This is not for Black people to fix.
We will never be completely free until we all are free of systemic oppression and racial violence that is upheld by white silence and fragility. Running from that responsibility will only continue to destroy this country.
We are working to face these issues within our Y, providing resources and training for our board, staff, and members to learn more and be active participants in questioning and dismantling systemic racism. But we know we cannot do this alone.
Yes, I am angry. 10 more Black people lost their lives just because a white man did not like their existence. Black Lives do matter and must matter.
It’s beyond time to do better America! So, I ask again: when will it stop?
And will you work with us to find solutions for our country?
Bertram L. Lawson II (he/him/his)
President & CEO
YMCA OF CENTRAL NEW YORK
The following message was shared by the leadership of YMCA Buffalo Niagara:
Yesterday was a very sad day in Buffalo...and for our entire society. My prayers are with the community, but especially with those of you on our team who are directly connected to the victims. We are devastated by the horrific and hateful violence that took place in our neighborhood. Our heart goes out to the victims, families, and our entire community.