New Yorkers, elected officials, and faith leaders mourned on Monday the monumental loss of life in Saturday’s Buffalo mass shooting carried out by an apparent white supremacist.
The day saw a series of sorrowful ceremonies that grieved for the ten people who were callously shot down simply due to their skin color.
Gays Against Guns–a group founded after the Pulse nightclub shooting that fights for stricter gun laws–conducted a funeral-like procession. Donning all white and strapping the faces of the victims to their chests, the group solemnly marched to Times Square.
“Whenever there is a mass shooting event where ten or more people are killed, we come out into the streets as quickly as we can make it happen. So that’s what we’ve done this time. We’ve done it many times in the past over the last six years,” Jay W. Walker of Gays Against Guns told amNewYork Metro. “You have to have thick skin and you feel your emotions, but you have to learn how to compartmentalize.”
The procession strode to Times Square.
Later that evening, Mayor Eric Adams hosted a remembrance service Monday night to honor the lives lost in Buffalo’s racially motivated mass shooting.
A slew of elected officials and a variety of faith leaders packed into Harlem’s Bethel Gospel Assembly – Destiny Worship Pavilion on May 16 with sorrow in their hearts. The somber affair began with several attendees placing flowers on a table, one for each of the 10 victims.
The message of the night was clear: speakers called for unity after it was revealed the shooter set out to murder members of the Black and Brown community. Those in attendance also called for accountability for media outlets and individuals who they believe helped spread a message that fanned the flames of hatred.
“We have a system that allowed a white supremacist that had every flag that everyone should have seen to purchase a weapon, write ni**er on it and mow down black people who were shopping and working in a supermarket. That’s the system that we have. Elise Stefanik, Tucker Carlson, Fox News, the New York Post, Donald Trump — everybody who has been pushing this, you are at fault,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said.
One by one, Mayor Adams placed the roses into a vase before offering his condolences and doubling down on his pledge to combat gun violence. Adams spoke of 11-year-old Kyhara Tay, who was tragically shot and killed in the Bronx that evening as an example of why gun crime prevention is so desperately needed.
“We must deal with this terrorist act that happened in Buffalo that took 10 innocent people merely because of their ethnicity, merely because of who they were. But I say this over and over again: we have to be consistent because if you took the life of young Kyhara merely because of where she lives, you are no less demonic than the person that took the life of those 10 innocent people in Buffalo. That mothered mourned, and if you were to close your eyes, and listen to the mourns in Buffalo who lost their loved ones, you would not be able to distinguish between the two different groups because pain is pain and a premature taking of the life of an innocent person is felt and it doesn’t dissipate based on where you are geographically or who the person is that took your loved one. It’s the same,” Adams said.
Adams went on to point the finger at social media platforms, which he believes perpetuates violence by giving people free rein to spread hatred and incite brutality.