Where’s my mother supposed to go grocery shopping now?
The mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that took 10 souls and permanently injured three others continues to take away from this predominately African American community.
Now, she must change her schedule, drive farther and out of her community. This will cost her more money, and it will take more emotional energy. She must adjust her movements and not only look out for muggers but also white supremacists in the parking lot.
The national attention span isn’t long. Soon, it will move on to the next tragedy — and, tragically, the 27th school shooting in 2022 took place last week in a Texas elementary school.
But Buffalonians and their heartstrings are still tied up in police tape after the mass shooting on May 15. We can’t just move on, and we cannot look away.
We haven’t had all the funerals for Celeste Chaney, Roberta A. Drury, Andre Mackneil, Katherine Massey, Margus D. Morrison, Heyward Patterson, Aaron Salter Jr., Geraldine Talley, Ruth Whitfield and Pearl Young.
The grieving process has just begun. We can’t talk about hope or healing. The wounds are still fresh, and all the dead have yet to be buried.
Besides, it happened in the hub of our community.
That supermarket is a part of our day-to-day living. Impoverished but resilient people, that supermarket is a marker of pride. It is something good, something nice to look at when there seems to be nothing much to look forward to.
What can we look forward to? We cannot go back to business as usual. There has been an incident of white supremacist terrorism. Who do we report that to?
Back in 2020, Michael German, a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice, released a report and this was its summary: “The government’s response to known connections of law enforcement officers to violent racist and militant groups has been strikingly insufficient.”
German is also a former member of the FBI who, in the 1990s, infiltrated white supremacist groups.
In a recent interview with Ed Pilkington of The Guardian he said, “U.S. law enforcement is failing, as it long has, to provide victimized communities like Buffalo’s with equal protection under the law. They are not actually investigating the crimes that occur.”
Consequently, who do you call when Latisha Rogers, a TOPS employee, reported that a 911 dispatcher hung up on her because she was whispering since the shooter was still in the building?
Who do you call when politicians are split down the middle on just about everything, including what prompted the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection?
But this the not the first time it has happened in U.S. history. Google “Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898” and don’t blame critical race theory for why you have never heard of it.
Things haven’t changed and churches offer more of the same. So, who do you call when the North American church is still segregated at 11 a.m. sharp on Sunday morning?
Who do you call when all your calls for justice get hung up in bureaucracy? When despite peaceful protests this keeps happening?
It keeps happening like it did in Wilmington, Tulsa, Elaine, Rosewood and too many other communities.
I mean to address the history of socially colored white people attacking and destroying African American communities because they are successful and threaten the stereotypical images that frame white supremacy.
Back then, it was “the threat of Negro rule.” Today, it is “the shooter believed in ‘the replacement theory,’” that is the belief that socially colored white people are being replaced by “people of color.”
But isn’t that what the English colonists did to the Indigenous communities? Isn’t this gaslighting and playing the victim?
People from these targeted communities have no history of traveling to other countries or neighborhoods specifically to hunt down human beings based on the social coloring of skin.
When I arrived in Buffalo, New York, the community on the east side was without a local grocery store. Instead, we purchased fresh produce and other food products from corner stores and a local deli. TOPS supermarket wouldn’t come until 2003.
Now, we’ve lost it because white supremacy takes everything. My community not only lost a supermarket that has been closed since the mass shooting, we have lost a sense of security.
The alleged shooter was spotted before the massacre, scouting for “soft targets” before choosing the grocery store. And he killed people who lived softly— mothers and grandmothers, a deacon and our elders, a sister who came to care for her brother and is the embodiment of community.
Who’s going to give that sense of normalcy back to us? On what aisle do we pick that up?
And who’s going to take my mother to the grocery store to pick that up? Because she cannot go to TOPS supermarket.