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BCRI Responds to Recent Acts of Racially Motivated Terrorism


(The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute issued this statement on the massacre of innocent shoppers in Buffalo, NY)

On May 14 a mass shooting occurred at a supermarket in Kingsley, an eastern neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. Ten people were killed, and three others were injured. Eleven of the victims were African American.

Less than 24 hours later, a mass shooting occurred at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California. One person was killed, and five others were injured, four of them critically. Most of the attendees at the church were Taiwanese American.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will broadcast a virtual conversation examining the effects of race terrorism on Thursday, May 19 at noon. The program will be available on the BCRI’s Facebook and YouTube platforms, @bhamcivilrights.

Comparable to the times of Jim Crow, our society requires reformation. In the early stages of this investigation news has already surfaced the shooter in Buffalo reportedly threatened to open fire at his high school and was under “medical surveillance” related to another incident at the same high school. The repeated behavioral patterns beg the question why the suspect was allowed to purchase a semi-automatic rifle in December.

He unapologetically livestreamed the massacre on social media and even inscribed writings paying homage to Mother Emanuel AME Church shooter Dylan Roof and others on his weapon – proving that he wasn’t acting under the impression that his monstrous behavior would be condemned, rather that it was to be captured and celebrated.

The struggle for American minorities to overcome racism is imposed by dint of five key circumstances. As a result of economical injustices, a biased legal system, health disparities, and the consequences of housing and educational inequalities, they continue to suffer at the hand of extremists. Investigating and comprehending how centuries of racism has manifest itself in the past and has affected politics, our nation’s institutions, and society is a crucial task necessary for ending such domestic terrorism.

According to the latest census report, the community of Kingsley is 78 percent African American. It is therefore not difficult to devise the attacker’s designation of the Tops Supermarket that he targeted. Because the site is now a crime scene, community patrons are forced into yet another food desert, being temporarily bused outside of their neighborhood to access produce and healthy foods. The mental health of, not just the Buffalo community, but the nation will be forever distressed by the effects of this heinous act.

In a nation where Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and internet-radicalized white supremacists are supposedly protected by the same constitution, BIPOC are far too often on the wrong side of the right to bear arms. Therefore, our commitment to social justice endures as well as our ongoing efforts to be truth bearers and standard keepers.