We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones, and community of those who were murdered in Buffalo, New York over the weekend in an act of racially motivated mass murder. This violence was committed by a white man driven by racism and a fear of the loss of white supremacy and encouraged by a growing climate of hate.
This act of terrorism is nothing new for the Black community. Instead, it characterizes the history of the nation. Horrifying violence was applied to create and sustain slavery, more than 4400 acts of lynching have been documented between the end of reconstruction and World War II, and civil rights demonstrators were beaten on the Edmond Pettis Bridge, attacked by Bull Connor’s dogs, bombed in Birmingham, dragged from busses and beaten, assaulted in voter registration offices and at lunch counters, and other attacks. The pattern continued with the murders in Charleston’s Mother Emanuel Church, the violence in Charlottesville, and official violence against Black Lives Matter demonstrators. Feeding this hatred are cynical politicians prohibiting the teaching of this history in schools while spewing vile rhetoric on the internet.
These murders are an act of evil by an individual, but cannot be separated from our history of systemic oppression. It is not enough to prosecute this murder, but we must address racial inequity root and branch.