Statement on Racist Shooting in Buffalo

May 16, 2022

The members of the Communications Workers of America are devastated by news of the racist massacre that took place at the Tops grocery store on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, New York on Saturday.  Our prayers and our condolences go out to the families of the victims, and to the entire Black community of our city. We know these events come as especially devastating news for our own Black members. There are no words to express our rage, our sorrow, our grief. 

Our union was founded on the bedrock principle of solidarity—the idea that every working person, regardless of race, creed, gender, or ethnic heritage, shares common interests and a common aspiration for a just and humane life. Saturday’s shootings tear apart the very idea of solidarity.

We are stunned by the Tops massacre, but we are not surprised. Tragically, Buffalo has now joined the long list of American cities and towns that form a map of the mass murder of Black people dating back hundreds of years: Colfax, LA, Wilmington, NC, East St. Louis, MO, Chicago, Rosewood, FL, Detroit, Tulsa, OK, Charleston, SC, and many more too numerous to mention. We must address the reality that in this country, the most basic activities of life—going for a jog, going shopping , driving a car—too often put the lives of Black people at risk.

The Buffalo shooting should also not surprise us because the shooter was clearly motivated by white supremacist theories and propaganda that have entered the mainstream of American political discourse. When the most popular cable television program in the country spews out incessant attacks on immigrants and repugnant theories like “the Great Replacement”, are we surprised that some demented young person decides it is his responsibility to take matters into his own hands? We can no longer ignore this dangerous propaganda. We call on advertisers to withdraw their support from racist programming which leads directly to the kinds of events we saw Saturday in Buffalo—and in recent years in Charleston, El Paso, and Pittsburgh.

This is a time for grieving. But it is also a time for anger, and for a steadfast commitment to dismantling the racism that has divided our country for centuries, and continues to divide us today. CWA stands ready to join that struggle.

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