A black and white image of people gathered around sidewalk chalk letters spelling out the names of the Buffalo victims

Say Their Names! A Response to the Buffalo Hate Crime Shooting

Once again, a racist, domestic terrorist who had been under FBI investigation this year for making threats of gun violence was able to legally buy a military assault rifle and high capacity magazines with no questions asked. And, as a result, ten lovely people, peacefully going about their days buying groceries, were murdered in less than two minutes. I refuse to let these tragedies become so normalized that I stop writing about them, and yet, I’m tired of saying what needs to be said, and I’m sure you’re tired of reading about it.

So, I will simply ask that you do two things. First, look at their innocent faces and say their names. They deserve to be noticed; they deserve to be remembered. If you want to know more about their amazing lives and what they meant to the people who loved them, read this article from the New York Times.

An array of ten photos showing the faces of those murdered in Buffalo, along with their names and ages at death.

Second, I ask that you channel your anger and embrace your power to effect change. Changes in gun laws and changes in gun violence and domestic terrorism will not happen until politicians start losing their seats in both state and national elections. Vote for and support leaders who will stand up to this nonsense. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there have been over 450 mass murders over the past decade of which 75% have been committed by political extremists and over half by white supremacists like this one. Over half the victims have been Black Americans targeted because of their race. In El Paso, it was another shopping center targeted by a domestic terrorist because it was a Hispanic neighborhood. He shot 46 innocent people, killing 23 of them.

These domestic terrorists have been emboldened by the extremist rhetoric of far-right politicians. Rather than unambiguously denouncing white supremacists as terrorists, we see many of our leaders, including the former President, wrapping their arms around these elements of society and treating them like welcomed insurgent soldiers of a new white nationalism, or as their new party “base,” or as their personal, lawless posses. But, make no mistake, there is nothing American about these people. They are fascists, racists, antisemitic xenophobes, and their radical “replacement” theory is pure, unadulterated Nazism.

Our American democracy is under attack, and the only power we have to change it is the power of the ballot box. That power requires that we work for campaigns, support candidates, and VOTE for those who will make change happen. If you live in a state that is already well served, then find candidates to support in other states who need your help. We owe this to the 10 souls who will be remembered at funerals and vigils in Buffalo this week, the countless souls who were gunned down before them, and the many likely victims of domestic terrorism we have yet to read about. Collectively, we can make a difference.