Health & Medicine Statement on Buffalo Shooting - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Health & Medicine Statement on Buffalo Shooting

May 24, 2022

On May 14, 2022, the nation bore witness to a mass shooting by a white supremacist who was targeting Black community members in Buffalo, NY. In minutes, ten innocent Black people lost their lives. The traumatic impact of this racist attack has rippled across the country.  The most acute effect is rooted in the deeply personal grief and pain for the victims’ loved ones and the survivors of the attack. But there is also community-level trauma for those who call Buffalo home, and vicarious trauma for Americans around the country in the aftermath of the violence.

The community of Buffalo will need long-term support to recover and rebuild. We must also prioritize the mental health and well-being of Black people and other people throughout the United States who are experiencing the trauma of witnessing this racist attack. The disproportionate effects of this racial trauma on the mental health and well-being of Black individuals are real and deep. They compound centuries of harm perpetrated by racist systems.

As we grieve for the those who were killed and provide support to help communities process and begin to heal from the pain and trauma, we must also directly confront the white supremacist movement that fueled the attack. We are currently witnessing a disturbing normalization of racist ideology in the United States, from the backlash to the racial justice movement in multiple state legislatures, to the embrace of the racist “great replacement theory” by both elected officials and the Buffalo shooter himself.

We call on media, lawmakers, and policy leaders, to call out these racist acts and to take action in the form of policy change to address these harms and to support the recovery and healing of survivors.