May 15, 2022 at 2:10 p.m.

Thoughts on the Attack in Buffalo, NY

Dear CSSW Community,

While we engaged in a joyous celebration of our 2022 graduates yesterday, a horrific scene was unfolding in Buffalo, NY. An 18-year-old white man is accused of a racially-motivated, anti-Black attack on shoppers at a neighborhood grocery store. According to reports, the shooter was heavily armed, using a rifle equipped with high-capacity magazines that are illegal in New York State. At this point, 10 innocent lives are lost, and 3 others are fighting for their own. It is the largest mass shooting in the U.S. so far this year.

And according to a recent poll by the Associated Press, one-third of Americans say they believe in “replacement theory,” the white supremacist canard that non-white and immigrant people residing in the U.S. will “take over” by the power of the vote. One of the most dangerous components of racism is the reality that once the roots have been nurtured, as in the case of anti-Black racism for more than 400 years, the hateful and insidious rhetoric and action will only continue to grow unless we take conscious action to uproot them.

Having to hold grief and joy at the same time is a skill that marginalized communities have been forced to hone. It is a skill that we are now all being charged to practice. While you continue to celebrate the joyous moments in your life, please take care of yourself and leave space for the other emotions that may arise for you as well. Our community is here to support as we continue to fight.

In community,
Melissa & Karma

Melissa Begg, Dean & Professor
Karma Lowe, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Community Engagement