Shavonnee, Jean, Amalia, and Felicia's Message May 19, 2022

From Speak Out - the Institute for Democratic Education & Culture <info@speakoutnow.org> Let Us Pause and Honor the Lives Lost in Buffalo In the United States, in 2022, you can clock in for work or stop at the grocery store for strawberries on a sunny Saturday afternoon and lose your life for simply existing in a Black body, in a Black space. On Saturday, May 14, 2022, ten unsuspecting Black people were murdered at their local Tops supermarket and three others were injured during a racist rampage in Buffalo, NY. The grocery store was targeted by the gunman because it was located in an area with a high percentage of Black residents. This sort of white violence in Black communities is rooted in white supremacy and has become too commonplace in our collective psyche. Black people in America deserve protection and respect. Black lives matter. After witnessing the traumatizing events of Saturday, May 14, we all need a pause. Breathe. We, at SpeakOut, are calling on you to take a moment of silence today in honor of those who lost their lives during the racist rampage this past weekend. We hope that you also take a moment to learn more about who they were in life. They were mothers, fathers, grandmothers, daughters, deacons, and activists. They all had deep roots in their community. Their lives were taken too soon at the hands of a white supremacist terrorist. They deserve to be honored and uplifted. Andre Mackneil, 53, was in town visiting relatives and had gone to Tops to pick up a surprise birthday cake for his son. He was originally from Buffalo, but lived in Auburn, N.Y. He was a loving father, grandfather, and fiancé and he was killed on his son’s 3rd birthday. Roberta Drury, 32, was at Tops supermarket getting groceries for her adaptive brother, Christopher Moyer, and his family at the time of the shooting. Drury lived in the Syracuse area, but came to Buffalo to be with Moyer who is recovering from leukemia. He says she would “come over and help out all of the time.” According to her sister, Ananda Drury, Roberta "was always was the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh." Celestine Chaney, 65, was at the grocery store with her sister to pick up shrimp and her favorite strawberry shortcake. Her sister and her both ran to the back of the store when they heard gunfire ring out. While her sister made it out, Celestine did not. Celestine was a grandmother and cancer survivor who had just celebrated her 65th birthday 5 days prior. Heyward Patterson, 67, was at Tops working as a driver giving rides to residents to and from the grocery store and helping them with groceries like he had done for years when he was gunned down. He was a Deacon at The State Tabernacle Church of God and would welcome people to service on Sundays. He served the community in the soup kitchen and volunteered to clean the church every Saturday. Aaron Salter, 55, was working as security guard at Tops Supermarket after retiring from the Buffalo Police Department with 30 years on the job. He bravely shot at the armed terrorist multiple times, but was not able to penetrate his heavy body armor. Aaron risked his life to protect the lives of others and died a hero trying to stop the deadly attack. Katherine “Kat” Massey, 72, had gone to Tops Supermarket for groceries. Her brother was waiting to pick her up when her family received news of the shooting. Massey was a journalist and activist in her community. She had written for both the Buffalo Challenger and The Buffalo Criterion newspapers, which were established to serve the city's Black residents. In May 2021, she wrote about "the escalating gun violence in Buffalo and many major U.S. cities" during which she advocated for more strategic gun control. She was a powerful advocate and voice that was lost during Saturday's massacre. Geraldine Talley, 62, was at Tops grabbing items for lunch with her fiancé, Gregory Allen, after spending the sunny Saturday at the waterfront where, according to Allen, they “were there for three hours talking and laughing with each other.” The two were separated when Allen went to grab ice tea and gunfire rang out. Geraldine worked as an executive assistant for years and was a baker famous for her cheesecake and carrot cake. Margus D. Morrison, 52, went to Tops to buy food for his family for their weekly movie on Saturday. He called his significant other to let her know that the store was out of something and just moments after they hung up, he lost his life. He is the father of 3 children, was a former security guard, and worked as a bus aid with Buffalo Public Schools. According to Morrison’s step-daughter, all of his children “considered their dad their best friend and always went to him for advice." Ruth Whitfield, 86, had just come from visiting her husband in a nearby nursing home, like she did everyday for nearly a decade, when she stopped at Tops Supermarket on her way home. Whitfield was a wife, mother, and grandmother who loved camping, cooking, and time with her family. They held a press conference Monday, in which her son, Whitfield, Jr., a former Buffalo fire commissioner, described his mother as “the glue who held his family together.” Pearly Young, 77, was shopping for groceries on Saturday when she was killed. She ran a weekly food pantry for 25 years, where every Saturday she fed people in Buffalo's Central Park. She was a mother, grandmother and missionary, who according to her family, “loved singing, dancing, and being with her family.” May their memories and legacies live on forever. In solidarity, Shavonnee, Jean, Amalia, and Felicia for SpeakOut