ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Local community and faith leaders gathered for a vigil at the Aenon Missionary Baptist Church Wednesday evening in Rochester, calling for an end to hatred in the aftermath of the deadly shooting in Buffalo.
On Saturday, a white gunman shot and killed 10 Black people at a Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue.
Rochester Mayor Malik Evans says all of the weekend’s pain and tragedy — is only 90 miles away. Being at the church representing Rochester and standing with Queen City is vital.
“We have a special bond with Buffalo, so it’s important,” the mayor said.
Evans says what happened in Buffalo, could have hit much closer to home. “This individual was dangerous and demented and that it had not been for Buffalo, it could have been Rochester — as we know.”
Another reason for this vigil County Executive Adam Bello says, is to make sure what happened in Erie County, does not happen here.
“It happened an hour down the Thruway, which means it can happen anywhere,” Bello said.
Bello says a hateful act of white supremacy like this can never be tolerated. “We need to stand up. We need to rise up and demand change,” he said.
Some of the speakers taking to the podium asked God ‘why’ in all this — but instead chose faith over despair.
“We pray oh God, that you would help us go forward with a spirit of hope and possibilities,” says Rev. Frederick Johnson, First Genesis Baptist Church.
Evans said a message must be sent. “Love and people coming together will drive out the divisive, nasty, racist hate,” the mayor said
A second vigil was also held at the Tops Friendly Market on West Avenue in the city Wednesday. Many spoke about the direct connections they have to Buffalo, saying the entire Upstate community is joining in their pain and sorrow.
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.
Ten people were killed Saturday and three others were injured in an act of white supremacist terrorism committed at Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue on Buffalo’s East Side.