The state of New York is planning a memorial to honor victims of the deadly mass shooting in Buffalo.
On Friday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced the creation of the May 14th Memorial Commission, which will seek to build a permanent memorial on the East Side of Buffalo, according to the press release, Creating the memorial commission is part of the state's vision “to support and uplift the East Buffalo community following the racist attack.”
"Five months ago, 10 Black Buffalonians were senselessly slaughtered solely because of the color of their skin, and through the May 14th Memorial Commission, we are ensuring that their lives and legacies are honored," Governor Hochul said. "The May 14th Memorial Commission will create a lasting reminder of the losses we experienced that awful day. While we combat racism in all forms and work towards a future where hatred and bigotry are a thing of the past, the Commission, led by Reverend Mark Blue and supported by partners like Mayor Brown, will have a leading role in uplifting the East Buffalo community."
"Our community was deeply affected by the events of May 14, 2022, and the May 14th Memorial Commission will bring transformative ideas to the forefront that will aid in the healing and create a symbol of remembrance,” Mayor Brown added. ‘I look forward to working with the Governor and the May 14th Memorial Commission to build a memorial for the ten innocent members of our community who were killed in this racially motivated mass shooting. I thank Governor Hochul for prioritizing the establishment of this commission which will be crucial in helping our city heal from this tragedy."
Garnell Whitfield, who lost his mother Ruth Whitfield in the mass shooting, said that it is the appropriate time to plan a memorial to honor the victims and he hopes that justice and healing of the community would be the result.
"It is my prayer that as we begin this journey, it will provide the opportunity for our community to come together in love in a united effort that will honor all of those who have suffered under the weight of white supremacy," Whitfield said in a statement.
Rev. Mark E. Blue, president of the Buffalo NAACP and one of the leaders of the memorial commission, was tasked with acquiring land for the new memorial and engaging with victims' families along with the greater Buffalo community about the project’s design and securing funds.
The news of the memorial commission follows the announcement that the victims of the shooting received payments from the Steering Committee of the National Compassion Fund. According to the report, funds went to 169 applicants “who are families of the victims, survivors, or people who were traumatized by the tragic event.” Through donations from various donors, a total of $6.45 million will be disbursed.
Payton Gendron, the accused suspect of the horrific tragedy is facing a 27-count indictment, which includes 10 counts of hate crimes resulting in death and three counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill.
Since the mass shooting, Gendron has been held without bail.