RocACTS Religious Leaders speak out on the Massacre in Buffalo, May 14, 2022
On May 14 of this year, ten of our neighbors in Buffalo were killed while grocery shopping. The young man who is alleged to have retooled the weapon he used published his racist philosophy in 180 pages on social media. His perceived fear that black people, Jewish people and people of other minorities were trying to replace white Americans is due not only to the dark corners of the internet but to “replacement theory,” a simplistic, hate-based false assumption re. population change. It was chanted in Charlottesville in August 2017. “Jews will not replace us,” “You will not replace us” and similar words describing killings are in the documents from massacres at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand where 51 people were targeted and killed, at a Walmart in El Paso where 23 Hispanic people were shot down and killed, at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh where 11 people were killed. In 2015, nine congregants during Bible Study were murdered at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina. Again the shooter was inflamed by racist rhetoric. And we hear some TV personalities and some politicians fan the flame of fear and violence with similar words that “entice, recruit and support white supremacists.”
Each piece of legislation that further marginalizes people of color is part of the problem; each easily accessible assault weapon is part of the problem; each unlicensed, untrained, unregulated, unauthorized assault weapon user is part of the problem. Each social media platform that espouses and recruits white supremacists is part of the problem. Every person that does not seek ways to stop the hate and stop the violence is part of the problem.
We can each listen to and learn from our religious leaders and our marginalized neighbors. We can stand up and speak out against white supremacy, racism and violence.
We, the Religious Leaders Caucus of RocACTS, the Rochester Alliance of Communities Transforming Society, stand in solidarity with other faith-based organizations in calling for love of our neighbor, enforceable background checks and common sense gun laws. We ask our U.S. Senators to address the issue of gun safety/public safety immediately. Hate speech encourages and fuels white supremacy and so we ask that hate speech be sanctioned including sanctioning any of their own members who have used hate speech. We urge all to seriously consider endorsing the Domestic Terrorism Act of 2022 (HR 350).
We call on every person to stand up and say “gun violence is a national health emergency; enough is enough; stop the violence.”
Dr. Denise Mack, Chair, RocACTS Religious Leader’s Caucus
Dr. Gayle Harrison, President, RocACTS Board
Virginia Fifield, Associate, Sisters of Mercy, Member RocACTS board
Endorsed by Dr. Muhammad Shafiq, Rev. Dr. William Wilkinson, Rev. Robert Werth, Rev. Rebecca Segers, Rev. Canon Dr. C. Denise Yarborough, Dr. Angela Sims, Rev. Tedd Pullano, Rev. Doug Stewart, Rev. Ed Palumbos, Rev. Dr. Stephen Cady, Rev. Jim Schwartz, Rev. Brian Cool, Rev. Susan Shafer, Downtown United Presbyterian Church Session, Rev. Shari Halliday-Quan, Sr. Beth La Valley, Rev. Richelle Goff, Rev. Lori Vail, Rev. Keith Patterson, Dr. Tabassam Javed, GRCC, Greater Rochester Community of Churches, Rabbi David Abrahams, Rev. Dr. Lynn Acquafondata, Rev. Myra Brown, Rev. Peter Peters, Churches of the Assumption & Resurrection Social Justice Team Ministry, Elder Ralph Carter, Beth Lilach, Laurie Mahoney, Debbie Rosenfeld, Carlos Santana, Deacon Jim Fien, Elder Jonathan Nwagaraocha, Kathleen McGrail, the Very Rev. Ken Pepin, Ruth Marchetti, Brother Peter Veitch, OSB, the Cathedral Community Social Ministry Committee, Rev. Hans Irmer, Rev. Ernest M. Krug, MD, Deacon David Palma, Barry Swan and more.
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“The first step in addressing racism in society and in the church is to acknowledge its persistence in ourselves and our institutions and in cultural attitudes.”
~Marvin L. Krier Mich, The Challenge and Spirituality of Catholic Social Teaching
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