On Saturday, May 14, a predominantly African American community in Buffalo, New York, was targeted by an act of racial hatred that took the lives of 10 African Americans, and injured three others.
This racially motivated act, made even more accessible due to inadequate gun regulations, demonstrates the danger of unchecked white supremacy and the imminent harm of this ideology to our Black and Brown sisters and brothers, for no other reason than the color of their skin.
Our faith, which sees everyone as a reflection of our loving God, calls us to mourn with our sisters and brothers in Buffalo, and to recommit our efforts to dismantle structures of oppression and the culture of violence that perpetuate these tragedies.
An individual acted on Saturday, but he was not alone. Every person, politician, news outlet and social media platform that espouses white supremacy ideology from across the country was with him. Every legislation designed to disenfranchise and erase persons of color is part of this same hate-based ideology. We condemn the systemic racism and culture of white supremacy in this country in the strongest terms.
We say their names:
Roberta A. Drury (32), Margus D. Morrison (52), Andre Mackneil (53), Aaron Salter (55), Geraldine Talley (62), Celestine Chaney (65), Heyward Patterson (67), Katherine Massey (72), Pearl Young (77), and Ruth Whitfield (86)
Black women and men around the country have been shown through extrajudicial killings and ongoing racist attacks that their lives are less valued. Today they will go about daily errands with even greater fear knowing that such an attack may be coming. The Sisters of Mercy, and all people of faith, must do our part to sit in the pain of the black community today, understand the reality of that fear and unequivocally demonstrate that Black Lives Matter.
The Sisters of Mercy have been a part of the Buffalo community since 1858. We are confident that the resiliency of Buffalo will always be stronger than hate, and we will work together to bring about the day when such resiliency is no longer necessary.