BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Federal lawmakers are expected to vote on several measures on gun reform next week in response to several mass killings nationwide including at Tops on Jefferson Ave. On Saturday, representatives from the National Urban League traveled to Buffalo to call for immediate action on Buffalo’s East Side.
Its been 21 days since 10 people were killed and three others were injured by a self-called white supremacist. Civil rights leaders from across the United States gathered at the site of the mass shooting this weekend to talk about a way forward. They say it is not about getting by, rather it is about created a new normal for this neighborhood.
“Prayers. Check. Tears. Check. Action. Blank,” Thomas Beauford, president and CEO of the Buffalo Urban League, said.
These signs are now popping up outside of the Tops Market on the East Side. The National Urban League has issued a call for action in Buffalo. They say it will take all levels of government to address the systemic problems in Buffalo.
“This plan should include at its core the economic uplift and revival of this neighborhood,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial said.
The Urban League is calling for more housing, youth programs and mental health treatment. The organization says it’s involved in similar work in Indianapolis, where millions of dollars were spent to create a plan. They want to do the same in Buffalo.
“We’re here to provide some financial resources and some political muscle,” Morial continued.
On East Side economics, New York State plans to spend $61 million on revamping the Central Terminal and $1 billion to restructure the Kensington Expressway. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says more investment is needed.
“We need more from the private sector. We need more from philanthropy. Those organizations that raise donations and invest in community,” Mayor Brown said.
Residents on the East Side say they want change and a safer community. Some say fundamental changes to the educational system should be part of the solution while others question if money is the answer.
“I’m saying I’m sick and tired of us being denied life, liberty and the pursuit of justice. I’m saying money is not stopping us from getting killed at Tops,” one resident said during the press conference.
The National Urban League is also calling for Federal action on banning assault weapons, enacting universal background checks and they believe the White House should host a forum on battling white supremacy. Congressman Brian Higgins said Congress will be voting on gun measures next week.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.