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Memorial to be built in honor of Buffalo massacre victims unveiled

todayMay 14, 2024


5/14 Memorial Commission

(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — As residents of Buffalo, New York, commemorate Tuesday two years since a self-professed white supremacist killed 10 people at a grocery store in a racially motivated mass shooting, the final design for a permanent memorial has been unveiled to honor those killed.

The memorial, titled “Seeing Us,” is comprised of 10 arching interconnected pillars inscribed with the names of the people killed in the attack at a Tops store on Buffalo’s East Side. The project will also include a new building, which New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said will serve as a central hub for education, exhibitions and other community events.

The memorial will also include an elevated, park-like “Memorial Walk” on the roof of the new building, leading visitors to a vista point overlooking the monument.

“This tragedy shocked us, it devastated us, it pushed us to what we thought was beyond our limits. But it didn’t break us. Instead, it revealed a strength that runs deep in the veins of this city,” Hochul said at a news conference Monday to unveil the memorial design that a committee of community residents, including relatives of those killed in the massacre, selected from 20 submissions.

Killed in the May 14, 2022, attack were Ruth Whitfield, 86; Roberta Drury, 32; retired Buffalo police officer Aaron Salter Jr., 55; Heyward Patterson, 67; Pearl Young, 77; Geraldine Talley, 62; Celestine Chaney, 65; Katherine “Kat” Massey, 72; Margus Morrison, 52; and Andre Mackniel, 53.

Hochul said the memorial will “show future generations what these people stood for and the depth of their families’ love. This will endure forever.”

The memorial was designed by architects Douglass Alligood and Jin Young Song.

The governor announced the state is investing $5 million to build the memorial and kick off a yearlong fundraising effort. The city of Buffalo is also contributing $1 million to the construction of the memorial.

Mayor Byron Brown announced a new committee to raise an additional $9 million for the construction.

“It is my hope that with this 5/14 memorial, we can offer some sense of healing, peace and hope for the future,” Brown said.

Payton Gendron, the teenage gunman who committed the mass shooting, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to 15 state charges, including 10 counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and domestic terrorism motivated by hate. In January, federal prosecutors announced they would pursue the death penalty against Gendron.

“Two years ago, a shadow fell over our beloved Buffalo, a shadow created by hate, pure evil and a despicable act of violence, a racially motivated mass shooting right at Tops supermarket that tore through the heart of this community,” Hochul said.

Hochul, who was raised in Buffalo, added, “I want all the families to know, we’ll never leave you to carry the burden alone. We are at your side and we’ll also never be defeated by hate. We’ll only rise up stronger in the face of it. That’s who we are as Buffalonians, that’s who we are as New Yorkers.”

Zeneta Everhart’s son, Zaire Goodman, was working at the Tops store and was among three people wounded in the attack.

“My son’s journey to recovery is a testament to the resilience of our community, but it’s also a stark reminder of the scars left behind by that tragic day on 5/14,” said Everhart, a member of the 5/14 Memorial Committee who won election to the Buffalo City Council in November. “As we honor the memory of those we lost and continue to support those who were injured and are still recovering, let us not forget the deep wounds that still linger in our city and community. The unveiling of the final design for the memorial is not just about erecting a monument; it’s about weaving together the threads of our collective grief and resilience into a tapestry of remembrance and hope. May this memorial stand as a beacon of unity and justice, reminding us all that we are stronger together in the face of racism, hatred, and violence.”

A second memorial, titled “Unity,” will also be unveiled Tuesday outside the Tops store where the Buffalo mass shooting occurred.

A moment of silence will be held at 2:28 p.m. ET, marking the time the massacre unfolded, followed by a tolling of the bells, officials said.

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