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NAACP Buffalo Chapter President Condemns Mass Shooting, Appeals To The Government To Step Up

Rev. Mark Blue explained, “We're not asking for a handout. We're asking for a hand up.”

As more details emerge about Payton S. Gendron, the suspect from the mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket in a predominantly African American neighborhood on Saturday, May 14, the community remains in mourning. Many are actively working to pick up the pieces and help the families of the 10 victims who were shot and killed as they come to terms with the overwhelming loss and grief. The NAACP chapter in Buffalo has come out strong with a plan to make their presence known and offer any resources available to help those in need.

“Our hope is to not only increase [our] presence, but be able to give some financial help and affordability to the victims and not just those who are deceased because of this, but those who were suffering in the aftermath,” said chapter president Rev. Mark Blue in a phone interview with BET.com. “We realize that the community, the whole community, has suffered from this.”

The organization has watched locals set up their stations and resources to help each other with different needs as they try to lift one another up after the tragedy.

We're seeing a lot of individuals come together to rally around this critical crisis that we're facing as a people. We have individuals from all over, all areas and ethnicities, different cultures and religions who are all coming together. That's what we do in Buffalo. We come together,” said Rev. Blue.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden flew to Buffalo on Tuesday to personally offer their condolences and speak to the families. The President issued a speech where he publicly referred to the incident as domestic terrorism. Rev. Blue believes the government can and should do more to craft legislation against these acts that specifically target African American lives around the country.

The government needs to respond quickly and swiftly on hate crimes against African Americans. We need to make sure that we're being taken care of like any other ethnicity. We need to make sure that things happen fairly,” he says.

BUFFALO, NY - MAY 17: People pick up food and supplies from a food distribution event put on by Buffalo Community Fridge along Ferry street, just blocks away from Tops Friendly Market
People pick up food and supplies from a food distribution event just blocks away from Tops Friendly Market.

“After hundreds of years, we just passed an Anti-Lynching bill. That's what Congress and the Senate has done. They have to get  together and put back the John Lewis voting bill. Put back the bill that they gutted, which was the Voting Rights Act. That deal is now being gutted. And now, the rights of individuals to vote are being taken away. So there's been a lot of things that have happened to our community that have been legislated.

The community in Buffalo has a while before this painful memory can begin to fade. As the healing begins, Rev. Blue says that this town and its people will need ongoing support to move forward.

RELATED: ‘Evil Will Not Win': President Biden Travels to Buffalo To Pay Respects At Memorial, Comfort Families And Speak About Mass Shooting

RELATED:  Buffalo Shooter Kicked Out Of Grocery Store Day Before Racist Massacre

This is not just a one-step process. It's going to be a [multi-layered] step process to give people back to a sense of right,” he explains.

We have a crisis right here in our country of racism, of African-Americans in poor communities in the United States who are not getting the same type of financial resources needed in order for us to grow, to thrive, and to pull ourselves up. We're not asking for a handout. We're asking for a hand up.”

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