Days after the racially motivated attack at a Tops supermarket in East Buffalo, which killed 10 people and wounded three, labor unions were quick to pay respects, express sorrow and remind the public where they stood on racial issues.
CWA 1122’ss executive board, based in Buffalo, took to social media to offer condolences, and take care of union members who might have close ties to the people attacked in the shooting.
“WE MUST COME TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY AND SAY ENOUGH!!,” read their statement on Twitter. “WE ALL SHARE THIS CITY, THIS COUNTRY…”
“WE HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH OUR EMPLOYERS WHO MIGHT HAVE BUSINESS IN THE AREA,” the statement continued. “WE HAVE AGREED TO WAIT TO DISPATCH INTO THE AREA UNTIL THE INVESTIGATION IS OVER.”
On Saturday, 18-year-old Payton Gendron carried out the attack in East Buffalo. According to authorities, Gendron had once threatened to conduct a mass shooting at Susquehanna Valley High School, in his hometown, around graduation.
Conklin is a town located in Broome County just south of Binghamton. The distance between Binghamton and East Buffalo is anywhere between 3 hours and 27 minutes to 3 hours and 45 minutes.
“The entire labor movement is appalled by the killing of 10 people and wounding of three by a man with racist beliefs who targeted Black people,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and Secretary-Treasurer/Executive Vice President Fred Redmond in a joint statement. “While there’s no way to make sense of yet another racially motivated, hate-inspired attack on innocent people because of the color of their skin, it’s clear these types of mass shootings are perpetrated by those radicalized online, and we must take action. Our deepest condolences are with the family, friends, UFCW members and an entire community who are once again dealing with unfathomable pain due to one person’s racist beliefs.”
New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta, Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore and Buffalo Educational Support Team President Jo Ann Sweat, in a joint statement, expressed their anger over the massacre.
“Like everyone in New York, we are shocked and horrified by this senseless, repugnant act of violence against one of our communities,” the statement read. “This brutal act and the racial hatred that motivated it are incomprehensible, yet all too familiar in our society. Educators across Western New York and the state stand in support of our children, our colleagues and our families impacted by this tragedy.”
While details continue to emerge from the mass shooting, Murad Awawdeh, executive director, New York Immigration Coalition, stated that this is another reminder of why the Black Lives Matter movement exists.
“We are devastated that ordinary people cannot be safe from gunfire and anti-Black violence at their local grocery store,” said Awawdeh. “Ten innocent lives were lost and three people were injured at the hands of a self-proclaimed white supremacist. The biggest threat to the U.S. is white supremacy and, today, it reared its ugly head when the shooter targeted Black families shopping for their weekly groceries at their local supermarket.
“We condemn today’s actions and demand that our elected leaders address and reform gun laws and invest in community solutions that will bring real safety for all. Until then, we will continue to fight for Black lives and racial justice for all.”