BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The white dove I Leave Peaceprint signs have been placed in honor of the ten victims who lost their lives in Saturday’s mass shooting at the Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo.
“We have had requests coming for these doves all over Western New York, Lindsey Allen, director, community programs, Peaceprints WNY.
.@Peaceprints non-violence pledge to honor the 10 victims at the Tops Market in Buffalo. A peace message left from the legacy of slain nun, Sister Karen Klimczak. @WKBW #Ileavepeaceprints pic.twitter.com/gsizfCzee1— Eileen Buckley (@eileenwkbw) May 18, 2022
The dove-shaped signs and Non-Violence Begins With Me message is the creation and legacy of Sister Karen Klimczak, a Catholic nun who was killed by one of the former prison inmates she worked with on Good Friday 2006.
Her murder inside the Bissonnette House came as she was working on trying to launch a non-violent community program.
“Unfortunately, when she passed away she had about 2,000 doves that were made in Attica Correctional Facility and she didn't do anything with them before she passed away. They were actually stored in the attic of Bissonette House,” Allen explained.
Allen tells me at Sister Karen's funeral those dove signs were released across the city to promote healing, just as they have been placed around the Jefferson Avenue tops site.
“I think Sister Karen is definitely smiling and grateful to have started this vision in Buffalo with the peace signs,” reflected Allen.
Each of the Peaceprints dove signs now displays the names of all of the victims who were murdered at the Tops.
“These doves are her gifts after she left — like she's still speaking and is still doing and still can be seen throughout — I thought that was pretty nice,” Terrell Hales, Buffalo resident.
I found Hales of buffalo standing near the Peaceprint doves. hales was incarcerated for more than two decades.
Ironically, as an inmate, he would receive donated food items in paper bags sent from Sister Karen.
“And on each paper bag — there use to be all types of drawings and we learned that the drawings was done by kids,” recalled Hales.
Hales says seeing the doves as his community struggles to make sense of the hateful, racist attack helps.
“The community needs healing — a lot of healing — a lot of change,” Hales described.
“How angry are you with what's happened to your community and that you were targeted here?” Buckley asked.
“I can't explain it. I feel it, but I can't explain and I can't articulate it,” Hale responded.
Peaceprints says it has had significant demand for its dove signs from as far away as Monroe County.
Peaceprints says it is working on getting 2,000 more dove signs in the next couple of days to meet that high demand across the region.
Vivian Ruth Waltz is director of the SSJ Sister Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolence on Durham Avenue in Buffalo
Waltz tells 7 News the Center placed both the cardboard blue and white doves and the Nonviolence Begins with Me signs, as well as the wooden doves with “Peace,” the name of each victim, and 5-14-22 written on them - at the Tops site.
“These wooden doves were lovingly constructed by Sister Jean Klimczak and Maggie McAloon who is a volunteer with the Center. In fact, Maggie was given the 2022 “Nonviolence Begins with Me” Award at our annual event last month,” wrote Waltz.
Interfaith members continue to lend their prayers and support.
Another nun, Sister Mary Johnice of the Response to Love Center has been visiting the site daily, handing out small olive wood crosses and praying.
“These are my brothers and sisters. I’ve served in this community. I lived on the east side of Buffalo and I’ve been here for 75 years. This is my home. These are my people,” Johnice replied.
Sister Johnice tells me she is shocked and grieving with the community.
“The people who are coming for a meal. They shopped here at this store. They said ‘where are we going to go’ — I said ‘you come to us — we will help you’. But many of them are hurting and they're all around us and we are there for the people,” remarked Sister Johnice.