A message from Clean Air

Words cannot express the depths of rage and grief that Clean Air members and staff are holding following the horrific white supremacist mass murder at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo this Saturday, May 14th. We continue to hold the victims, their families and all members of our community in our hearts and prayers.

This is unequivocally an act of white supremacist domestic terrorism. The actions this coward took were not of a lone wolf who came out of nowhere; this man was radicalized by organized far-right, explicitly white supremacist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic fascists who seek to create division, fear and power for a select few. The shooter was very clear in his online writing and in his decision to live stream his acts of violence of his intentions. There is no gray area.

This man chose to end the lives of Black people in one of the East Sides only grocery stores, on a sunny Saturday afternoon. He did not choose to target random people, he chose to target Black people in our community on purpose, with racist rhetoric and intent. He chose to target Black dignity, Black joy and Black lives.

Though not from WNY, his thoughts and actions are present within our community and families. We know that the far right has been organizing white people in our City and towns for decades, and have particularly ramped up their efforts over the last few years. Erie county has one of the highest rates of people per capita who participated in the attempted coup on January 6th, 2021. Tonawanda and North Tonawanda were “sundown towns”. The shooter chose to target the 14208 zip code because it has the largest density of Black people; a remnant of decades old red-lining and segregation tactics that formed this city. This structural racism is at the core of the environmental racism that causes daily death and illnesses at a disproportionate rate in the areas we help organize. This event did not happen in a vacuum; it happened because of the ever present reality of white supremacy in WNY, the United States and around the globe.

But the fact remains that this happened in Buffalo, our Buffalo. We are sure that all of us know someone or is connected to someone who was directly impacted by the events on Saturday. This violence is big but it is also intimate.

Some things you can do now:

  • Clean Air will be assisting to organize mutual aid where it is needed and will post updates on how folks can act in solidarity. If you are a Clean Air Member and you need aid at this time please reach out to us at (716) 852-3813, extension 100.
  • If you are in need of immediate mental health and/or grief counseling, please see Black Love Resists in the Rust’s growing list of resources below.
  • If you would like to donate to the ongoing fund to support people with mental health and food resources organized by BLRR and Colored Girls Bike Tooplease click this link. 
  • If you would like to donate to BLRR to resource their powerful work, please click here.
  • If you are white and wanting to take action to build a powerful anti-racist movement for collective liberation, please click here to join Showing Up for Racial Justice’s email list.
  • If you are white, please sign up for Showing Up for Racial Justice’s national and local meetings on the mass-murder . National call 5/17 and local Buffalo call 5/26
  • Drop in center at the Johnnie B. Wiley Center, 1100 Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo from 9am-9pm. Everyone is welcome.
  • Grab food or donate food (no perishable meat) from the Buffalo Community Fridge at 257 East Ferry St.
  • Buffalo Creek Academy is offering to pick up groceries and drop them off to folks in the community near tops.
  • The Tops Food Bus is at MASTEN’s Resource Council of WNY on Ferry from NOON to 5p today!

Thoughts and prayers are powerful, and they cannot be where our action stops. There will be many calls to action from BIPOC led organizations in the coming days and weeks. We know that this moment feels overwhelming and we must stand together to take action.

With bread and roses,

Chris, Emily and Bridge


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