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Erie County passes resolution to create permanent location for trauma counseling

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Posted at 11:35 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 23:35:50-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — A push to continue helping those impacted by the mass shooting at Tops on Jefferson Avenue.

Chairwomen of the Erie County Legislature, April Baskin sponsored a resolution, that unanimously passed Thursday afternoon, called the "Erie County Resiliency in Communities after Stress and Trauma Initiative."

Baskin said she hopes to build upon the services being offered at Johnnie B. Wiley.

Her initiative would create a permanent location for trauma counseling with free services; address under-investment and development in commercial corridors on Buffalo's east side; create long-term investments in programs and services for Buffalo's communities of color; and establish psychological first aid training for neighbors, community organizations, and faith institutions in minority neighborhoods.

"People of the black culture, for far too long, have had to deal with a lack of resources and surviving just to be alive and exist in this country,” Baskin said.

Baskin said trauma has been ignited by the mass shooting at tops, but she said that's not where it begins and certainly not where it ends.

"Trauma that the black community is going to have to process, and digest affiliated with the mass shooting is on top of trauma that has already been inflicted upon this community since the founding of this country,” Baskin said.

Community leaders like Sherry Sherrill said encouraging people to get help is an important step to a plan like this.

"There is a culture of being secret about seeking and having the need for mental health and intervention services,” Sherrill said.

Baskin said this will be a hands-on approach for the long haul and she said that starts with talking to people.

"We have some serious, serious work to do,” Baskin said. “And it’s going to take some time and long conversations to identify the need."

"Any outreach, any push and effort that is placed on the effort of mental health is extremely important,” Sherrill said.