NYSCASA Responds to the White Supremacist Attack in Buffalo, NY

For Immediate Release: May 18, 2022

Contact: Chel Miller, Communications Director, cmiller@nyscasa.org

NYSCASA Responds to the White Supremacist Attack in Buffalo, NY

The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA) offers our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the ten people murdered and three people injured, and to the entire community affected, by the white supremacist mass shooting that occurred on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Buffalo, NY.

We remember the lives taken too soon:

  • Ruth Whitfield, 86
  • Pearly Young, 77
  • Katherine Massey, 72
  • Heyward Patterson, 67
  • Celestine Chaney, 65
  • Geraldine Talley, 62
  • Aaron Salter Jr., 55
  • Andre Mackneil, 53
  • Margus D. Morrison, 52
  • Roberta Drury, 32

We offer wishes of recovery and healing to the surviving victims:

  • Christopher Braden, 55
  • Jennifer Warrington, 50
  • Zaire Goodman, 20

As an organization that works to prevent sexual violence and promote healing, we recognize that all forms of violence are rooted in systemic oppressions that shape our society, including white supremacy and anti-Black racism. We recognize that hate-motivated violence and sexual violence disproportionately impact marginalized communities, especially Black communities. In order to eliminate violence, we must create a culture that actively fights for equity and against oppression in all its forms.

As experts on the effects of violence and trauma on mental health, we must denounce attempts to frame this act of violence as a mental health matter; pathologizing racism ignores the reality that it is systemic and pervasive in our country and, indeed, in our state. We must also resist calls to expand the authority of law enforcement to address gun violence and surveil online communities to root out hate; historically, this authority has been used to target and victimize Black and Brown communities, perpetuating violence instead of preventing it.

Instead, we must invest in evidence-based strategies that prevent violence before it begins by addressing risk factors at the individual, relational, community, and societal levels. This will require a societal shift in the norms that we promote and the behaviors that we tolerate.

As advocates working against sexual and gender-based violence, we are trained to look for early indicators of violence, including harmful statements and controlling behaviors, to disrupt violence and harm before it can happen. In educational programming, we emphasize that sexual and gender-based violence occur on a spectrum, which begins with the normalization of power-based oppression and violence. We must extend these practices to prevent racist violence in our communities. We honor the victims of this attack by inviting each other to call out—and call in—all of the subtle and explicit ways that white supremacy and systemic racism show up in our lives.

NYSCASA is in solidarity with all who have been affected by this tragedy. We have included resources below for individuals seeking support and for allies who wish to support community members in Buffalo.

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Click here to download this statement as a PDF.