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Al Sharpton visits Buffalo, meets with families of mass shooting victims

'Buffalo rose to the occasion. There's been no violence, there's been no riots. Buffalo stood up with love to answer hate,' The Rev. Al Sharpton said on Thursday.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Benjamin Crump were joined by the families of Andre Mackniel, Geraldine Talley, Andre Mackniel, and Ruth Whitfield on Thursday.

Mackniel, Talley, Mackniel and Whitfield were among the 10 people killed in the mass shooting at Tops on May 14. 

The event, held at Antioch Baptist Church on Fillmore Avenue, called for change nationwide after 10 people died and three more were wounded in Saturday's shooting.

"This must stop," Sharpton said. "And we're the ones to stop it."

Sharpton addressed the racism found in messages by the alleged shooter, who appeared in court on Thursday morning.

"This is an assault on all of us," Sharpton said. "They did not shoot these victims because of who they were. They shot them because of what they were. They were guilty of being Black, which means that that gun was shot at all of us."

Sharpton, who is the founder and president of the National Action Network, had a second event on his schedule at 7 p.m. Thursday. A vigil was planned at the Antioch Baptist Church.

Gov. Kathy Hochul had previously announced that the National Action Network will help cover the funeral costs for the 10 victims.

"We're going to keep going," Sharpton said. "We're going to be at some of the funerals, and whatever the families need us to do."

Sharpton also called on President Biden to have a summit on how the country deals with hate crimes.

The families of Andre Mackniel, Geraldine Talley, and Ruth Whitfield were at the event, sharing stories of their loved ones who died on Saturday.

"We cannot let hate win," Sharpton said. "And I think that we ought to know that Buffalo rose to the occasion. There's been no violence, there's been no riots. Buffalo stood up with love to answer hate. Buffalo stood up with dignity to answer an atrocity.

"People who are in the streets stood up and said, 'No, we are better than this.' "

    

 

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