The following message from Shannon D. Jones, AHIP, MLA President, was sent to librarians in Buffalo, New York on May 18, 2022. Following this message, MLA Connect is pleased to share some resources for you to use to support the Buffalo community.
I am writing to share my sorrow for the May 14 attack on your neighbors and fellow residents of the Buffalo area. That this brutal and racist assault came on the same weekend that the US reached more than one million COVID-19 deaths makes it even more heartbreaking.
Violence like this is commonplace in the Black community and has an impact on all of us regardless of the identities that we hold. The people killed in the Buffalo attack could have been members of my own family, friends, neighbors, or colleagues. My thoughts immediately went to my family who live in Upstate New York. I am so very grateful that they are fine but my heart goes out to the victim’s families and to our library colleagues who live in the Buffalo community.
The Buffalo attack also reminded me of the Emanuel Nine, who were murdered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015 here in Charleston. Specifically, it reminded me of the hurt, devastation, and grief it brought into the Charleston community. It is hard to believe we are approaching the 7th anniversary of that attack and that senseless and heinous killings like this continue to plague communities of color because of race.
Whether you knew the victims personally, whether you may be providing mental health resource support to your community or healthcare workers, or are just numbed by the constant misinformation and hatred that appears in the media every day, please know that I support you. Your colleagues support you. Your organization supports you. We Stand in Solidarity with you.
If there is anything that I or MLA can do to assist you, if we can provide any help or resources, or even personal contact; or if we can publicize fundraising efforts for victims’ families, please let me know.
I value each of you as colleagues. Please know that I see you, support you, respect you, and most importantly care about your well-being. Please take the time you need to take care of you and your family. Also take time to check on those around you.
I cherish the good will of information professionals and health information professionals across the country who are committed to an inclusive organization, free of the hatred that drives so many. MLK once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” It will take the collective action of all of us to bring the love and light needed to move us past this ugly moment in history.
Thank you so much, as a member or friend of MLA, for your commitment to that goal.
Resources to support the Buffalo community
Prepared by Chelsea Misquith for the MLA Social Justice Caucus and printed with permission.
1. This article has a listing of GoFundMes, organizations and community-driven initiatives that are still accepting donations.
2. This link by ADL has some information (with linked toolkits) on how to talk with young people, about white supremacist extremism, race/racism, and gun violence/mass shootings.
3. An article about the people who were killed and injured, including statements from the loved ones of those lost.
Please contribute however you can, and join MLA in honoring those whose lives have been impacted by this attack.