Buffalo’s Black Community Pays Tribute to Civil Rights Advocate, Katherine ‘Kat’ Massey

by Shine My Crown Staff
Voiced by Amazon Polly

The Buffalo community was rocked on Saturday after an 18-year-old opened fire at a Buffalo supermarket—and alleged targeted hate crime.

The gunman claimed the lives of 10 people and wounded three others at the Tops Friendly Markets store.

One of the lives taken was Katherine “Kat” Massey, a respected civil rights advocate and a pillar of her community. Former Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, a longtime friend of Massey’s, talked with Buffalo News about her legacy.

“We lost a voice yesterday. We lost a powerful, powerful voice,” Grant told the publication. “Any life has worth and loss of any life is really bad for the family and the community and the City of Buffalo,” Grant said. “But to lose such a fighter, someone who was so eloquent … to lose that voice.”

In 2021, Massey penned an emotional letter to the news outlet, calling for adequate federal oversight of firearms.

“There needs to be extensive federal action/legislation to address all aspects of the issue,” part of Massey’s letter reads. “Current pursued remedies mainly inspired by mass killings – namely, universal background checks and banning assault weapons – essentially exclude the sources of our city’s gun problems. Illegal handguns, via out of state gun trafficking, are the primary culprits.”

The alleged gunman who took Massey’s life has been identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Gendron, who is white, allegedly wrote a white supremacist manifesto online.

He traveled more than 200 miles to the predominantly Black area. Even more sickening, he live-streamed the deadly attack.

“The evidence that we have uncovered so far makes no mistake that this is an absolute racist hate crime. It will be prosecuted as a hate crime,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. “This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul and mind.”

On Sunday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $2.8 million in federal and state funding for the victims and their families.

“The past 24 hours have been traumatizing for New Yorkers, and my administration will spare no effort to ensure the victims of this act of terrorism by a white supremacist are receiving all the resources and support they need,” Hochul said in the statement. “The entire world is watching how we will come together as New Yorkers to overcome this unthinkable tragedy. Buffalo, my hometown, is the City of Good Neighbors and New York State will be good neighbors for them.”

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