Emgage Statement on Mass Shooting in Buffalo, New York

Emgage is heartbroken by the recent mass shooting targeting Black shoppers at Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Among the 10 victims killed in cold blood included a retired cop who worked as a security guard at the supermarket, a church deacon, and a beloved grandmother. Another three were injured.

The killer, a white person who specifically targeted Black victims, left a manifesto that chronicled his white supremacist views and planning for the horrific attack. The manifesto and tactics used by the killer, including live streaming his rampage online, point to an individual who has been radicalized and inspired by a rising global white supremacist movement. From Charleston to Christchurch to Pittsburgh, white supremacist violence has targeted Black, Muslim, and Jewish communities because of the misguided belief that minorities represent an existential threat to white civilization.

The ideology that inspired such hate and violence has been made mainstream right here in the United States by willful distortions and manipulations by cynical politicians and opportunist media personalities. The ‘Great Replacement’ theory, as it is known, has been perpetrated by Republican members of Congress and right-wing media personalities, especially Tucker Carlson on Fox News. It has spread like wildfire with the help of Russian disinformation online, including on 4chan, the anonymous online message board.

The ideology formed the basis of Trump’s Muslim Ban and the motivation behind the January 6 Capitol Insurrection. It seeks to suppress minority votes, ban Critical Race Theory education, and resist police reform to roll back the gains our country has made in pursuit of true social justice for all. This kind of systemic hate has lethal consequences. Too many lives have been lost at the hands of these domestic terrorists.

Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. This tragic event is a jarring reminder that white supremacy is the most significant domestic threat we face as a nation. We fully support that this crime be prosecuted as a hate crime and as an act of terror. Despite overwhelming evidence identifying white supremacy as the greatest domestic threat, our government remains disproportionately focused on targeting and surveilling Muslim, Black, and Brown communities.

This needs to change, now. But beyond what our law enforcement agencies can do, it is incumbent upon ALL of us to re-dedicate ourselves to defend our democracy. To protect voter rights, to fight for racial justice, and to demand a real reckoning with our historical dependency on slavery and institutionalized racism. It begins with you as an active and engaged voter.