BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Dion Dawkins wasn't born in Buffalo, but this city means everything to him.
"This is also my home," Dawkins said. "I have a large connection with this city. Everybody knows somebody and I'm one person away from knowing somebody who tragically lost their life."
Dawkins is mourning, right alongside his city following a mass shooting over the weekend that killed ten and injured three. Just days ago, Dawkins and his Buffalo Bills teammates visited the memorial set up outside of the Tops on Jefferson Avenue to pay their respects.
"It's still mind-blowing," Dawkins said when looking back on that day. "Even feeling that energy there and look at the community look at us there and even seeing how the community welcomed us there."
A community Dawkins has been a part of for six years. He was drafted by the Bills in 2017 and has raised a family in the City of Good Neighbors. When the community is hurting Dawkins is hurting, because he's directly impacted. He says racism is real and it happens every day.
"It sucks that in this situation it's a white vs. black thing," he said. "I'm an African American and regardless of how much money people make, they target us all the same. It really sucks that people walk around, they look at people, they think what they want, and they form planned attacks."
But Dawkins is using his platform to try and ease some of that pain this community is feeling. He's holding a charity cornhole tournament on Sunday at Woodlawn Beach with all proceeds going to the Buffalo Survivors Fund and the Buffalo Community Response Fund.
He also plans to throw a birthday party for the son of Andre Mackniel, one of the ten victims who was killed while shopping for a birthday cake.
"Whatever I can make happen, happen," Dawkins said about his upcoming work. "It just takes love, it really does."
And while the pain won't ever go away, Dawkins has one important message to those who may need a little relief.
"I just wanna say that they're in our prayers, they really are," he said. "So many people have no idea who's thinking about them and I am."
You can watch our full interview with Dawkins above.