In the wake of Saturday’s terrorist attack, Members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus led by Chair Assemblymember Michaelle Solages.
They gathered in the State Capitol Building to condemn white supremacy and express solidarity with the Buffalo community.
“The Caucus stands with Majority Leader People-Stokes and the community of Buffalo in this time of tragedy and hardship. We gathered here today to process the trauma of this horrific event and to uplift the lives of the victims. We know that our nation cannot continue to allow Black lives to be devalued and discarded. We remain committed to ensuring that Black lives are valued here in New York State,” stated Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages, Caucus Chair.
“This weekend’s vile act of hatred and cowardice has laid bare the inequities within our communities, both social and economic, that facilitate the spread of white supremacist ideologies and allow its insidious seed to grow. But the resiliency of Buffalo’s communal bonds won’t be bent or broken by extremism, nor will our communities be deterred. It is long past due that we provide the resources and the policy impetus necessary to reverse the redlining practices that have segregated sections of our city and prevented upward mobility,” stated NYS Assemblyman Jon D. Rivera.
“I feel deeply disturbed, angered, and appalled by the racially motivated mass shooting that took place at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York which injured 13 people, 10 fatally. Out of the 13 victims, 11 are Black while two are White, according to news reports. We have lost lives, innocent people, with families, some may have children, and for what? The suspect, identified as Payton Gendron, 18, even live-streamed his crimes to the online site Twitch. This proves that hatred is alive in America in 2022 and that there is pride in that hatred and that it lives in the hearts of at least this man, not even a man, a teenager. My heart goes out to the families of the victims, I pray for them. I pray for our nation. In my district, I will, as I have in the past, immediately escalate my training on how people can protect themselves from these first-person shooter attacks that have plagued our nation. Although this is probably a lone wolf incident, this is not the first mass shooting we have seen and sadly it will not be the last. The killer’s message of hate is one that is fostered and propelled forward by the right wing media, with their gloved racism creating methodologies like the replacement theory which legitimizes bigotry with the goal of starting a race war. These messages dement impressionable minds, and this incident in Buffalo is just one such tragic result. Gendron has been arraigned on murder in the first degree, which carries a sentence of life without parole, and while that is the harshest sentence and justice must be served it does not bring back the innocent people who were slaughtered while buying groceries.” stated NYS Senator James Sanders Jr.:
“This senseless attack is a somber reminder that we are far from eradicating racism and the ugly stain of our country’s past. Ten people walked into a grocery store and did not return home to their loved ones. To think that we are not safe in a grocery store, a place of worship, or even in our own homes simply because of the color of our skin is gut-wrenching and should shock the conscience of our nation. We must recognize that the racism and hate that drives these acts of violence are not occurring in a vacuum, but part of a growing and deadly epidemic,” stated NYS Senator Jamaal Bailey said.
“America is again at fragile times that deserves the attention of the federal, state, and local government. We need policies that confront and tear down white supremacy and other historical vestiges standing in the way of racial healing and reconciliation. This was terrorism fueled by hate and enabled by dangerous loopholes in gun laws. Last Saturday’s tragedy was a product of those who promote and have enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism in our nation. As a progressive beacon of hope, New York has to have zero tolerance for all rhetoric that amplifies acts of violence over love. Today we stand in solidarity with Buffalo and elevate our prayers and condolences, and call for resources for the victims’ families and their community,” stated NYS Senator Robert Jackson.
“This tragedy happens too frequently and it’s time to make it stop. The code words, the hate speech, and the rhetoric has real, deadly consequences. We must work to change the public perception to prevent this from ever happening again and we must continuously advocate in every way possible to eliminate assault rifles for non-military use. There should be no compromise until all that is achieved,” stated NYS Senator Leroy Comrie.
“I am praying for the families of those lost and for those who are beginning the difficult journey of physical and emotional recovery after this violent act of white supremacy. What we witnessed in Buffalo this weekend is evil in its purest form. As a Western New York neighbor, we offer our support—but now is also the time for us to take action. We must hold those who commit hate crimes fully accountable and also restrict access to illegal guns and dangerous modifications used in mass shootings and acts of war. Only by working together can we put an end to these tragedies,” said NYS Senator Jeremy Cooney
“White supremacy is one of the most insidious dangers facing our country. This Saturday, ten New Yorkers were murdered in cold blood at the hand of a white supremacist who felt emboldened and encouraged to commit this atrocious act by the racist speech being spewed by members of the far-right and some conservative media outlets,” said NYS Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I join my colleagues in denouncing their rhetoric and this attack and implore my federal colleagues to relentlessly push so that Congress finally takes action on this issue. We owe it to these families and all New Yorkers.”
“Those who sow the seeds of white supremacy cannot feign innocence in the face of its consequences, nor can those who disregard white supremacy until it leads to bloodshed. We stand with the victims of Saturday’s horrific shooting, and with Black communities throughout Buffalo and across the nation,” stated NYS Senator Jabari Brisport
Our entire nation stands together against the horrific acts of hatred and terrorism thrust upon the people of Buffalo by a white supremacist. As New York’s legislators, we will do everything in our power to come together to support the victims as they manage this unthinkable trauma. Today, we mourn the victims, and in their name, we recommit to fighting hatred, ignorance and intolerance in all forms,” stated NYS Senator John Liu
“As details emerge about the motivations behind Saturday’s act of domestic terror, the pain and mourning many of us were already experiencing – particularly in communities – has only intensified. For all the conversation we have had around public safety over the past year, there seems to be a refusal to identify how white supremacy makes our communities less safe. 10 New Yorkers in a majority Black part of Buffalo went to work, went to the only grocery store in a historic food desert, and had their lives stolen by racist violence. The dangerous racist rhetoric that inspired the shooter is unfortunately not limited to the darkest corners of the internet. All of New York is standing with Buffalo, but legislators at every level need to address the conditions that allowed this to happen,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos.
“I am sending my love to the people of Buffalo, especially to the families and loved ones of those who were viciously murdered and injured on Saturday. It is clear that this was another horrific mass shooting by a person motivated by the deadly ideology of white supremacy. To attain real public safety, we must honestly confront the poisonous underpinnings of white supremacy and work to become a society where all are able to live with peace and dignity. I look forward to working with my colleagues and with our communities to develop urgently needed solutions and to take action together to end white supremacist violence,” stated NYS Senator Julia Salazar.
“I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the reports of the mass shooting yesterday in Buffalo. Even more disturbing are the reports this was a premeditated hate attack, with the explicit purpose of terrorizing the Black community of Buffalo, NY. I stand in solidarity with Majority Leader People-Stoked, my elected colleagues, and the people of Erie county who are no doubt in pain. Gun violence and racism are diseases that must be treated with an increased since of urgency,” said NYS Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson
“I have almost run out of thoughts and prayers. It shocks the conscience to think that someone got in a car and drove three hours for the sole purpose of killing Black people. Eleven of the 13 people shot were Black, including an 86-year-old woman executed because of the color of her skin. It is time for meaningful gun control legislation that would properly address assault weapons. This was a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, not a battlefield. We have to act quickly, because the next white supremacist with a thirst for blood is plotting the next attack right now,” stated NYS Assemblywoman Latrice Walker
“I am disgusted by the heinous, hate-driven, and cowardly senseless killing of innocent men and women in the city of Buffalo. The unforgivable actions of these racist-inspired domestic terrorists were guided by a detestable and bigoted ideology. An ideology that this trained killer was allowed to act upon the moment a weapon entered his hands. The reality is today we live amid an unregulated arms race in America. In 2020, since the first year of the pandemic, the US reached its highest level ever recorded for both gun sales and gun deaths. Firearm homicides alone increased by nearly 35% from the year prior, placing black and brown lives at greater risk today than ever before. Even now, these intolerant beliefs and hateful rhetoric are out there and accessible to millions online and through social media. Meanwhile, we have the systems in place to hold these individuals accountable in the same exact way we pursue individuals in possession of child pornography. It is time we treat white supremacy and these racist online forums with the same disdain as we give to child sex predators. It is unacceptable that any member of our communities should have to live in fear of tomorrow. There is no excuse for inaction from our civil and elected leaders. As it is said in the Book of Matthew, ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ I trust in our capacity to care for and protect one another. Collectively, we must take a stand against hate within our communities and take steps toward a future where every life is loved and valued. Together, we are stronger,” stated NYS Assemblyman Demond Meeks
Earlier this week, a mass shooting occurred in the working-class neighborhood of Kingsley, Buffalo in an act of stemmed racial hatred. This tragedy occurred nearly a month after the 1-month anniversary of the 36th Street Shooting tragedy that occurred in another working-class neighborhood here in South Brooklyn. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing pattern that we are becoming too familiar with as our communities continue to take a toll. I join my colleagues in the State government to call on Washington for a national, holistic approach to gun control to ensure that another tragedy like this does not occur again in another neighborhood like ours,” stated NYS Assemblywoman Marcela Mitaynes.
“It is so painful to see that hatred and racism are still so much alive in our country. My heart and prayers go to the families of the victims and to Hon. People Stokes. As legislators we have a ton of work to do in the fight against gun violence and hatred,” stated NYS Assemblywoman Yudelka Tapia
“I am deeply saddened, angry, and heartbroken by the racially-motivated act of domestic terrorism in Buffalo. It is too easy for New Yorkers to get a gun. And Tucker Carlson and others have worked hard to normalize the racist “replacement theory,” which was apparently the gunman’s motivation for targeting people of color with this act of evil. We must stand up to hate,” stated Assemblyman Manny De Los Santos, MSW.
“The mass shooting in Buffalo at the hands of a white supremacist must be exposed for what it is: terrorism. We cannot accept a narrative that portrays an 18-year-old white terrorist as a “teen” while everyday hardworking people of color are portrayed as criminals. And let’s be clear: this is not an isolated incident. Mass shootings are rising across America, and GOP extremists are adding fuel to the fire with their dangerous rhetoric and conspiracies. Enough is enough. As we remember and honor the memory of the victims, let us stand together to stop extremist ideologies – like those espoused by the Buffalo terrorist – from continuing to pervade our society and sow violence in our streets,” stated NYS Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn.
“The mass shooting in Buffalo was a racially motivated attack fueled by white supremacy. It was an egregious assault and defilement on human rights, civil rights, and the sanctity of life. While we are outraged and sad, we must be more determined than ever to confront and dismantle the power structures that perpetuate white supremacy in our communities,” stated NYS Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez.
“We are all still in shock at the horrific act of violence in Buffalo, and I share the sense of grief our communities feel. We see the effects of hate every day in lives lost and families destroyed, and it is not a crisis that will fix itself. This killer drove hours to enact his campaign of domestic terrorism, and until we address the root causes of radicalization, these losses will continue to be inflicted on our most vulnerable communities,” stated NYS Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou.
“The unfathomable tragedy in Buffalo on Saturday was caused by a toxic mix of hatred, easy access to dangerous firearms, and white supremacy. We will not tolerate this in our civilized and respectful society. Today, my colleagues and I mourn, but we will not delay in developing legislative solutions to prevent another act of terror in our state. The semi-automatic rifle used in this crime, which is the same model used by ISIS, is already illegal in California. There is no reason why New York State should be any different. Furthermore, the toxic white replacement theory that fueled the shooting cannot be allowed to infect any more minds. This is a challenging moment, but New York is no stranger to becoming stronger than ever after a tragedy,” stated NYS Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar.
About the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus
The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus is a sixty-seven-member body of state legislators representing a quarter of residents across the State of New York from Long Island, the metro New York City area, and upstate.