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How the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres responded to the horrific Buffalo shooting.

May 25, 2022 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) There are still aftershocks from the May 14th mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, by suspected killer Payton Gendron, who chose a supermarket named Tops Friendly on Jefferson Avenue in East Buffalo, to carry out his disgusting act.  Tops is located in a lower-income Black neighborhood in Buffalo. Gendron sought out Black people to kill and killed ten. In the days since this tragedy, the two biggest professional sports organizations in the Buffalo area have done numerous actions to assist a shaken and saddened Buffalo community.

The city of Buffalo, New York has a sizable Black community. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 35 percent of Buffalo residents are Black. Although Buffalo is known nationally for chicken wings and sports teams, the poverty rate of the city is also pretty high at approximately 28.3%. The Tops supermarket, where the Buffalo shooting took place, “served as community center, a place to hang out, a source of employment” is in a lower-income community of predominantly Black people.

Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres donation buffalo shooting

Buffalo professional sports teams like the Buffalo Bills of the NFL and the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL have made contributions towards the city following the tragedy. Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo, goaltender Malcolm Subban, and general manager Kevyn Adams joined nine Buffalo-based members of the Buffalo Bandits professional box lacrosse team of the National Lacrosse League to volunteer and serve food on Jefferson Avenue.

One day after the shooting, Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds from his charity softball game to the families of the victims. “I still can’t believe it,” Hyde said. “But when there’s hate in the world, you kind of erase it with love, and coming out here today and showing the community love and love to the youth, love to the community, love to the foundation. I guess that’s the way to combat it.” Former Buffalo Bills great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas decided to fundraise to help the families and community affected by the mass shooting and his Thurman Thomas Family Foundation has raised thousands of dollars for Buffalo.

The Buffalo Bills Foundation and NFL Foundation are joining together to donate $400,000 to relevant organizations including the Buffalo Together Community Response Fund, a nonprofit with the mission of “connecting people, ideas and resources to improve life in Western New York.”  In a statement, Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, said, “This Fund is a partnership to build upon the collective desire to take action and to work together as a community to address immediate needs, long-term rebuilding and systemic issues that continue to marginalize communities of color.” There is a recognition that numbers of Buffalo residents were struggling financially prior to the shooting and the trauma following the shooting doesn’t help.

The Buffalo Bills organization and front office had several conversations following the incident about how the organization can contribute. “The Buffalo community, they think highly of the Buffalo Bills, and so it is our job and our role to be here for the community, to be out here and be reachable, to be able to have these conversations,” running back and special teams captain Taiwan Jones said. “And in a moment like this the most important thing is just to show love. So, we wanted to come out here and just love on people, show people that we care, we feel for you.” It will take deeper conversations about systemic poverty and systemic racism throughout the country to prevent these tragedies from happening again.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines

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