May 14 changed our community.
The racist shooting that took ten lives, injured another three, and devastated a neighborhood was a horrific tragedy we cannot - and should not - forget.
The act of violence demonstrated that racism and white supremacy are true threats to lives and our community. While many came together in immediate response to this tragedy, the conditions that enabled it and the inequities that were highlighted as a result are long-standing. Buffalo has enjoyed renewal and revitalization in recent years, but that progress has only been in and for some parts of our community and not for all.
As we take the time to mourn and remember those who died and those who this horrific act of violence has forever changed, we know we need to do more.
At the Oishei Foundation, the events of May 14 deepened our resolve to focus our work to build a more racially equitable community. We have been asking ourselves, how can we do more? How can we invest our resources strategically? And, How we can lead with a racial equity focus that will make a difference?
We do not have the answer to these complex issues. Still, we are committed to learning and listening to those who experience systemic inequities and barriers to opportunity and to their ideas for what is needed to make change. We will be taking the next several months to build a strategy that answers the call with deliberate plans to support and build opportunity with people of color on Buffalo’s East Side. We know we cannot do this alone, and we invite others to listen, learn, and act with us to create a thriving community for all.
Christina P. Orsi
President, The John R. Oishei Foundation