ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester faith leaders joined together at the Tops Friendly Market on West Avenue in the city Wednesday afternoon to stand in solidarity with Buffalo.
Many spoke about the direct connections they have to Buffalo, saying the entire Upstate community is joining in their pain and sorrow. On Saturday, an 18-year-old gunman killed ten people and injured three others in a racially motivated attack.
“It could have been right here.”
Faith leaders from across the Rochester region spoke on several topics concerning the mass shooting, which was carried out in the name of white supremacy.
“We are praying against hatred against the race the replacement theory against racism we stand against it,” one faith leader said.
The overall message from the gathering is that love will always overshadow hate.
“We need not let fear be the subject of us retreating. And we need to know that our community is still vibrant as ever before and we need to be able to love another a little bit more because we never know the the day or the hour [sic, is our last.],” says Rev. Benjamin Cox, Faith Leader of Round Table of Rochester & Associate Pastor of Elim Christian Fellowship Church of Buffalo.
Also discussed during the stand of solidary was the importance of having deeper conversations and clearer community wide talks focused on systemic racism, institutionalized racism, and racism in the home.
“What happened in Buffalo is happening all over the country and it’s not just against Black people but it’s against Jews it’s against Asians is against Hispanics there is a hatred that’s permeating in this nation and in this world that we have to get it out,” says Clay Harris, Founder of Uniting & Healing Through Hope.
When talking about how people can help they say to get involved.
“There are a lot of forums and a lot of community events that are going to be taking place and I ask that you all come out and be a part of it so we can get to know one another as a community and that we can come closer as a people it’s not impossible – and we, right now even under attack – we can still give God the glory,” Rev. Cox added.
A community wide vigil is being held Wednesday night in honor of the victims and those impacted by Saturday’s mass shooting.