**FILE** The Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue in the Cold Spring section of Buffalo, New York, as seen on a February 2022 afternoon (Andre Carrotflower via Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** The Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue in the Cold Spring section of Buffalo, New York, as seen on a February 2022 afternoon (Andre Carrotflower via Wikimedia Commons)

As the nation commemorates the second anniversary of the heinous Buffalo mass shooting that claimed the lives of 10 Black individuals at a Tops supermarket, a painful reality emerges: hate crimes against Black communities continue unabated, casting a long shadow over efforts for justice and equality.

鈥淚t was a modern-day lynching,鈥 Garnell Whitfield Jr., son of victim Ruth Whitfield, solemnly remarked about the May 14, 2022, hate-fueled massacre. 

鈥淚鈥檒l always carry the scar of 5/14 and what happened to my mother. So, I don鈥檛 expect to be healed,鈥 Whitfield said during a televised interview. 鈥淚 know that鈥檚 something everybody talks about. I think that鈥檚 kind of an unrealistic expectation.鈥

In addition to Ruth Whitfield, 86, the other victims were Roberta Drury, 32; retired Buffalo police officer Aaron Salter Jr., 55; Heyward Patterson, 67; Pearl Young, 77; Geraldine Talley, 62; Celestine Chaney, 65; Black Press journalist Katherine “Kat” Massey, 72; Margus Morrison, 52; and Andre Mackniel, 53.

The racist murders, which self-described white supremacist Payton Gendron carried out, shook the nation. Yet, despite pledges for change, the latest FBI data reveals a disturbing trend: between 2020 and 2022, Black individuals were targeted in over half of reported hate crimes nationwide.

The numbers are staggering. They show hate crimes against Black youth have seen a relentless rise, climbing steadily over the past three years. From the Dollar General store tragedy in Jacksonville to the Walmart shooting in Beavercreek, Ohio, the Black community remains under siege.

Researchers at ABC News said they analyzed the most recent FBI data which revealed that more than 8,500 hate crimes reported nationwide between 2020 and 2022. African Americans were targeted in 52.3% of the offenses. Between 2021 and 2022, the network reported that the numbers rose from 2,217 to 3,421, making Black people four times more likely to be targeted than the overall U.S. non-Hispanic Black population.

Hate crimes targeting Black people under the age of 18 rose 10% in 2020, 12% in 2021 and 14.6% in 2022, according to the data.

Further, highlighted the significant impact of structural racism on health outcomes, particularly mental health. Through the school鈥檚 Psychiatric Epidemiology Training (PET) Program, scholars revealed compelling evidence linking systemic racial biases to disparities in diagnoses, notably in conditions such as depression and schizophrenia.

Led by Professor Katherine Keyes, the Columbia findings highlighted how structural racism permeates various facets of society, influencing access to healthcare services, environmental factors like housing and nutrition, and societal norms, all of which ultimately contribute to divergent health outcomes.

Additionally, legislative measures like thewere meant to stem the tide of racial violence. Yet, with no charges filed under the law to date, its effectiveness remains in question. Even as justice was served in the Ahmaud Arbery case, where perpetrators were convicted on state and federal hate crime charges, such victories are few and far between.

In Buffalo, efforts to bring the perpetrator to justice have been met with mixed results. Gendron, sentenced to life in prison for his crimes, awaits the federal death penalty. However, the indictment of social media companies for their role in radicalizing the gunman reveals a complex legal battleground where accountability is elusive.

The lawsuit, spearheaded by relatives of the victims, accuses social media platforms of facilitating Gendron鈥檚 descent into extremism. While companies like Twitch and Google deny these allegations, the battle for accountability wages on, amid growing concerns over online radicalization.

Initiatives, like the 鈥淯nity鈥 monument that organizers planned to unveil at Tops Supermarket, have served to offer solace but do little to assuage the pain of loss. For Whitfield and others, the scars of May 14 will always run deep, a stark reminder that justice delayed is justice denied.

鈥淪o, 5/14 may be significant for some,鈥 Whitfield reflects. 鈥淏ut it鈥檚 no more significant on 5/14 than it is on 5/13 or 5/12, or today. I have to live the rest of my life without my mother and with what happened to her.鈥

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The 老澳门开奖网 Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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1 Comment

  1. Its unnecessary to rely on federal law as New York does not have a death penalty it鈥檚 only holding up the Civil case against him two years of wasted time and money, they鈥檙e acting as if he did nothing wrong, harboring and aiding and abetting him as far as I鈥檓 concerned. He should have been tried, sentenced and sent to a state prison not a federal prison to be babied. If the same situation was a black man he would have been killed before he left the parking lot instead he was escorted out by a policewoman who looked like she was giving him a Pat on the back for a good deed done. Buffalo is a racist city and has and always been and getting worse day by day, more than half of the crooked politician are the worse, more white workers are embezzlers stealing money left and right not going to jail, put on paid leave until investigation is complete then told to make restitution. If a black happens to get caught convicted and sentenced to prison for a hell of a long time. There鈥檚 no justice for a black in this city no civil rights,or any other rights for us.

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