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How to Help Those Affected by the Buffalo Mass Shooting

This summary about the Buffalo mass shooting was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Local residents living near the supermarket in Buffalo, New York where a racially motivated mass shooting unfolded on Saturday have been totally blindsided by the senseless violence.

“People are still in disbelief. They’re still processing the whole thing. The community is still hurt. It’s still raw,” Tyrell Ford, lead community organizer with the local social justice non-profit VOICE Buffalo, told Documented on Sunday. “Nobody prepares for this.”

The gunman, aged 18 and who is white, killed 10 people and wounded three others, nearly all of them Black, while livestreaming the attack on Twitch. He allegedly left behind a manifesto that laid out his plan to specifically target Black people and repeatedly referenced the far-right “great replacement” conspiracy theory that a cabal is trying to replace white Americans with immigrants.

Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said in a statement Saturday that his organization was “devastated that ordinary people cannot be safe from gunfire and anti-Black violence at their local grocery store.”

Food Desert

The Buffalo mass shooting occurred in Masten district, a predominantly Black neighborhood on Buffalo’s east side. For years, it has struggled with a lack of access to fresh food, public transportation and quality education. It was also one of the neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19, especially in the early days of the pandemic.

Tops Friendly Market, the scene of the crime, was one of the only stores with fresh groceries within a two to three mile radius, Ford said.

“Now, not only was there a shooting, there’s also a loss of their main grocery store. If you don’t have a vehicle, you might be going without food,”  he explained. “The focus now is bringing in fresh fruit and vegetables.”

Lifelong Trauma

VOICE met Sunday with politicians to push legislation about mandating annual classes and mental health checks for gun owners. Mostly, however, their immediate work is in supporting those affected by the shooting.

“We’re just trying to be there for the families to make sure that they have the space to grieve and start that healing process, the long journey that it comes with,” Ford said. “The young folks that were impacted yesterday are going to have that lifelong trauma to deal with and need counseling just to get on with their life.”

The sudden thrust into the national spotlight has been tough for some to manage.

“The community, they don’t really want a lot of this kind of attention. They don’t need the camera crews,” said Ford. “They want to have the ability to heal and grieve and to get the mental health counseling and trauma services that they need. That’s what they really want at this time: time to understand what has happened.”

Documented readers interested in supporting VOICE Buffalo’s ongoing work can donate here or here


New York

Officials deem Buffalo shooting a racially motivated hate crime and act of terrorism:
Officials say the shooter researched local demographics of his target location and arrived a day in advance for reconnaissance with the intent of killing as many Black people as possible. –Associated Press

Four immigrants who helped track down the Sunset Park subway shooter are now fighting for visas or asylum: The authorities have credited four people with helping apprehend Frank James, the mass shooter who opened fire in a Sunset Park subway station. Now, they seek protection from the U.S. immigration system. -New York Times

Around the U.S.

Stats break down the “model minority” stereotypes of Asian Americans: The model minority myth crumbles when you disaggregate the data about different subgroups of Asian Americans, but that seldom happens. –Axios

U.S. Coast Guard rescues Haitian migrants from a capsized vessel near Puerto Rico: There have now been 38 survivors found, with a death toll of 11. –The Guardian

200,000 “Documented Dreamers” stuck waiting most of their lives for a green card: A look at the strange legal limbo these young people who have aged out of their parents’ family green card application process after turning 21 through the story of Bay Area twins from India. -KQED

Washington D.C.

Advocates say a “shadow Trump administration” is tying Biden’s hands: A look at why the battle over Title 42 is going down in Louisiana, 500 miles from the border. –NPR

Overturning Roe v. Wade could have harmful ripple effects for immigrants: How Justice Alito’s logic in the draft opinion could be extrapolated to have other negative consequences. -American Immigration Council

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