BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — May 14 began with a special service and special guests at True Bethel Baptist Church on Buffalo East Side.

Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton offered words of hope to a packed house.

“I came by Buffalo to tell you that yes, there was a massacre a year ago,” he preached. “But the God I serve said that he would take the least and make them first. And he would make our enemies our footstools.”

Rev. Sharpton spoke to a packed church for about half an hour. He said we can’t put a Band-Aid on something that requires surgery.

“Somebody needs to deal with stopping this tragedy,” he said. “And as much as we’re going to hear today in Buffalo about healing, you can’t heal until you deal with the wound.”

Marian Mitchell attends service every Sunday. But she knew this 5/14 was different.

“You can never forget that — never,” she said. “Hopefully, something good will come from this, where people will come together and do good for the community.”

Following Sharpton’s address, Pastor Darius Pridgen thanked him for his words.

“I feel a little better, Pastor Pridgen said. “Thank you. We feel a little better. We ain’t there yet, but we’re getting there.”

Tops Mass Shooting

Ali Touhey is an anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2023. View more of her work here.