We are horrified and outraged by the racist shooting in Buffalo and mourn the victims once again lost to a radical, hate-filled ideology. We offer our deepest condolences and support and reaffirm our commitment to be anti-racist in our work, our curriculums, and our daily interactions.
We stand in solidarity with the Black community in Buffalo and around the country, and with all who feel less safe and less trusting, in fighting back against intensifying racist rhetoric in the U.S., and the attacks it inspires. As the DGH, we call on our community to stand in solidarity with our Black faculty, staff, and students at UW in this time of collective trauma and grief and continue to engage with antiracism work to make our communities safer.
Buffalo is one of the most segregated cities in the U.S. and as the Washington Post reported this week, "Black residents of Buffalo’s East Side see mass shooting as an exclamation point on racism they face every day". This shooting is only the latest and most appalling manifestation of the white nationalism promoted and abetted by national politicians and media who must be held accountable for fomenting this violence.
Black lives matter, so we say the names of those who were lost in Buffalo:
- Roberta A. Drury, 32, who moved to Buffalo to be with her brother that had a bone marrow transplant
- Margus D. Morrison, 52, a husband and father to three children
- Andre Mackneil, 53, who was buying a cake for his son’s 3rd birthday
- Aaron Salter, 55, a retired police officer who was working as a security guard in Top Friendly Mart grocery store. Aaron is a hero, who lost his life while attempting to stop the attacker.
- Geraldine Talley, 62, an expert baker and loved by friends and family for her warm personality
- Celestine Chaney, 65, a devoted grandmother
- Heyward Patterson, 67, a dedicated churchgoer who drove people to and from the supermarket
- Katherine Massey, 72, a community activist, who her sister described as a "beautiful soul"
- Pearl Young, 77, a dedicated volunteer, spending her Saturdays helping in a soup kitchen
- Ruth Whitfield, 86, who had just been to visit her husband in a care home
The shooting Buffalo massacre, and the movement that inspired it, reinforces the urgency of the public health community to center anti-racism within its own institutional cultures and practices. Structural racism has contributed to devastating health disparities and inequity. The U.S. has now surpassed 1 million COVID-related deaths and Black and Hispanic populations have suffered from higher mortality rates than white Americans. Among the many unconscionable racial disparities in health in the U.S., Black women (across socioeconomic status) are three times more likely than white women to die within one year of childbirth.
“Public health is the science of social justice”. Let’s take our time to grieve and feel for our community, and we can honor the Buffalo victims by transforming our grief into action in our vital work.
Carey Farquhar, MD, MPH
Department of Global Health
James Pfieffer, PhD, MPH
DGH DEI Director
Jay Gilvydis, MPH
DGH DEI co-chair
If you would like to make a donation to help the effected families in Buffalo, here are some options
- Victims Fund for Tops Buffalo NY Shooting (verified GoFundMe)
- The families of the victims of the Buffalo shooting (verified GoFundMe)
- Buffalo Memorial - for funeral service costs (verified GoFundMe)
- Feed More wny – distributing food and sanitary items to the Buffalo community that lost their supermarket
If you find yourself needing counseling or mental health help, you have access to free, confidential guidance counselors through UW Care.