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Gov. Hochul and Mayor Brown announce establishment of 'May 14 Memorial Commission'

Posted at 11:26 AM, Oct 21, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced the establishment of the "May 14th Memorial Commission" on Friday.

10 people were killed and three others were injured in a mass shooting that occurred on May 14 at the Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo. As Western New York mourns with the families who lost loved ones, 7 News wishes to honor their memory. You can learn more about each of the victims here.

The commission will develop and advise a plan to build a physical memorial in East Buffalo to memorialize the life and legacy of the victims. The commission will consist of 11 members, six were announced Friday. Reverend Mark E. Blue, who is the Buffalo National Association for the Advancement of Color People (NAACP) President, will serve as chair and the other members announced Friday include:

  • Diane Colgan, Senior Vice President Tops Friendly Markets
  • Jonathan Dandes, Buffalo Niagara Partnership
  • Dr. Norm Lewin, Buffalo Arts Commission
  • Larry Stitts, Jefferson Ave Business owner
  • Garnell Whitfield, Former Buffalo City Fire Commissioner
"Five months ago, 10 Black Buffalonians were senselessly slaughtered solely because of the color of their skin, and through the May 14th Memorial Commission, we are ensuring that their lives and legacies are honored. The May 14th Memorial Commission will create a lasting reminder of the losses we experienced that awful day. While we combat racism in all forms and work towards a future where hatred and bigotry are a thing of the past, the Commission, led by Reverend Mark Blue and supported by partners like Mayor Brown, will have a leading role in uplifting the East Buffalo community."
- Gov. Hochul
"Our community was deeply affected by the events of May 14, 2022, and the May 14th Memorial Commission will bring transformative ideas to the forefront that will aid in the healing and create a symbol of remembrance. I look forward to working with the Governor and the May 14th Memorial Commission to build a memorial for the ten innocent members of our community who were killed in this racially motivated mass shooting. I thank Governor Hochul for prioritizing the establishment of this commission which will be crucial in helping our city heal from this tragedy."
- Mayor Brown

The remaining members will be selected by Hochul and Brown and will consist of East Buffalo community members and leaders in civic and cultural life.

The commission will focus on the following topics:

  • Siting and Acquiring Land.
  • Community and Family Engagement Plans.
  • Architect Selection and Design Concepts.
  • Fundraising.
  • Memorial Maintenance and Area Beautification.

The state and city also announced the intention to make financial commitments to the project and explore securing additional private contributions.

Garnell Whitfield lost his mother, Ruth Whitfield, in the shooting and released the following statement:

"It is fitting that we immediately begin the process of permanently memorializing the victims of this hateful, racist attack. It is my prayer that as we begin this journey, it will provide the opportunity for our community to come together in love in a united effort that will honor all of those who have suffered under the weight of white supremacy. At a time when our legacy and history continue to be re-written and, in many cases, unwritten, it is even more important that we write and preserve our own. We are thankful to Gov. Hochul and Mayor Brown for their leadership and support and look forward to the development of a transformational project that will honorably forever remember the lives of our loved ones and usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for the people that are the East Side of Buffalo."

Earlier this week it was announced that the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund will begin to distribute more than $6.4 million to those directly impacted by the mass shooting. You can find more information on that story here.