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Statement on the 2022 Buffalo Shooting Massacre


NYU Metro Center grieves for the precious lives lost in the racist massacre in Buffalo on May 14th. Our deepest condolences go out to the surviving family members and loved ones of the ten Black Buffalo residents executed by a self-proclaimed white supremacist. We offer our solidarity and strength to the community from which these innocents were mercilessly snatched away. We also join Buffalo’s East Side community to celebrate their lives and mourn their unlawful deaths. We want to acknowledge the grief and disruption that acts of racial violence like this create for already marginalized communities. We hold that grief in our hearts and stand with those on the ground in Buffalo leading the response and seeking spaces to heal and be whole again. 

In 19 states, teachers have not been able to discuss the Buffalo shooting in their classrooms this week, and may not ever have the opportunity to do so due to bans on discussions of race. They won’t be able to talk about its racist motivations and its place in the larger current of racial violence throughout American and global history. They won’t be able to discuss how this shooting is directly connected to the legacies of segregation, disinvestment, racial isolation, and acts of racism in this country. 

The proliferating bans on teaching about Black, Brown, and LGBTQ history in public schools are dangerous. The Buffalo massacre and the attacks on critical race theory are rooted in racist disinformation and conspiracy theories motivated by versions of the Replacement Theory Conspiracy–white fear of a non-white demographic majority. In fact, research conducted by UCLA IDEA showed that the attacks on critical race theory in schools are concentrated in school districts with falling white enrollment. More than 7 in 10 of all targeted districts experienced at least a 10% drop in White enrollment from 2000 to 2020. Racist violence and classroom censorship are both intended to erase people of color from this country and its history. 

At NYU Metro Center, we believe all students deserve to understand the truth of and context in which such a heinous act is committed. We know that educating children in rich, accurate, multiracial history and culture inoculates them against racist disinformation and conspiracy theories. And we insist that historically accurate conversations about this country’s laws, policies, and practices are essential in all U.S. classrooms.

These conversations would make apparent how this country’s history of segregation and disinvestment, factor into this tragedy. East Side Buffalo is a majority Black community with an average household income of $48,127, while Conklin, NY, where the shooter resides, is 91% white with an average household income of $67,920. This type of segregation foments and nurtures white racial violence, and this racial isolation helps to perpetuate the racial resentment and cruelty displayed by the Buffalo shooter. 

These conversations would also provide students and their teachers the language to engage in candid discussions about race and anti-Black racism. The Buffalo shooter is part of a tradition of white racial terrorism older than this country itself. From “Indian killers” to slave patrols, lynch mobs to race riots, African-American colonization schemes to forced sterilization policies, racial violence has been motivated or energized by white fears of being outnumbered. The Buffalo killing was mob violence too, though most of that mob was concealed in chat rooms, emboldened by dishonest and sensationalist cable news shows, and mobilized in political committee rooms. This era of Black Lives Matter and multiracial protests, police murders, and vigilante violence, recalls the surges of racial terror that ended Reconstruction and crippled the Civil Rights Movement.

And these conversations would foster brave spaces where students would not have to grieve in silence or receive the dangerous message that incidents like this should not or cannot be discussed, mourned, and grappled with in the classroom. 

Without such discussions, many millions of students will misunderstand this incident as an outlier, and the remedies they imagine will be responses to a freak tragedy, not solutions to the concerted push for white dominance.

As a civically engaged community, our humanity dictates that we must grieve the loss of the 10 Black lives cruelly executed in this brazen act of racial terrorism. Yet we cannot stop there. We must also act with the goal of preventing such horror in the future. In the face of white supremacy and extremist violence against Black communities, consolation alone is not enough to combat the racist ideologies that have given rise to the attacks on teaching multiracial history in schools, the adoption of racist conspiracies such as Replacement Theory, as well as the rationale used by the Buffalo shooter himself. At NYU Metro Center, we have intentionally chosen a path forward that prioritizes organization and solidarity with social justice leaders to build a more equitable future. NYU Metro Center is proud to partner with grassroots community groups that are organizing multiracial campaigns for accurate, honest education across the country, and with educators and districts that are courageous and steadfast in their commitment to racial equity in their schools. We recommit to this country’s long history of communities healing together, visioning together, and striving together for a just multiracial world that cherishes and protects all of its children. 

Please be on the lookout for upcoming announcements about actions and events in which NYU Metro Center will engage to offer support to educators and community members. In the meantime, we would like to connect you with ways to support the Buffalo community directly, as well as provide social justice, education equity, and other resources of support as we mourn this unprovoked tragedy. 

Please support those mourning in Buffalo:

  • Black Love Resists in the Rust: Support Black-led organizing.
  • National Compassion Fund: Donate to the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund.
  • Buffalo Urban League: To alleviate the collective grief and trauma of Buffalo’s Black community generated by a racist shooting massacre, the Buffalo Urban League is facilitating access to social workers and mental health professionals. 
  • Step Out Buffalo: With the temporary closure of the Jefferson Avenue Tops Market, Buffalo’s East Side residents are left to reside in a food desert bereft of many options. This Step Out Buffalo resource underscores community-driven activities to combat food insecurity.
  • FeedMore NY: Help feed people in the food desert where the Tops grocery store is located by donating.

Educational Resources Pertaining to Race, Equity, and Justice:   

Mental Health Awareness Resources:

Although we do not attribute the perpetrator’s unforgivable actions to mental health, we do recognize the importance of self, community, and structural care (Zandt, 2019) and mental health for the people and communities impacted after such an act. The ripples of events like this also reach beyond those directly harmed. To that end, we share the following resources for coping and mental health: