Last Saturday – the dark day for people in Jacksonville, Florida when 3 Black people were brutally shot dead in the Dollar Store in wide daylight, left the residents of Buffalo, New York in grief and disappointment. The incident revoked the anger and frustration among the residents, that suffered a similar open firing in May 2022.
Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said, the 21-year-old shooter, the white man, “hated Black people” and “left a white supremacist document” at the crime spot.
Cashell Durham was left in immense grief and emotionally broken as her brother; Aaron Salter was killed by the gunman as she ran in the store to warn others about the shooter.
Durham said, “When it hits you directly, and it’s because of just the color of our skin, it’s so different.” She added, “And when people say that there’s not racism, I’m like, ‘There is, and it’s still prevalent because of the actions that are still being taken.'” She expressed her sorrow saying, “It just seems sometimes so surreal, me and him had just talked, he was just there, and now he’s not.”
Durham expressed, “I have not been to that store since that incident, and the store is still open. It’s about three or four blocks away from where I live. I still haven’t been able to go.” She shared how she never considered such shooting until she suffered one herself.
A resident, Fragrance Harris and her daughter survived the shooter’s attack at Tops in May 2022. She stated – Her death almost flashed before her eyes. “We know that we came out of that store and the other people didn’t,” she added “We live with that every single day.”
Frangrance said, “Black people around the world have been taught to cope rather than heal with our trauma. We have learned to push it down, and then it compounds.” She advised the survivors – “Find the support that you need from whomever is willing to support you.”
One of the residents, Jamien Eutsey shared, that he has questions and insecurities about their safety in the area since the incident. He said, “I was looking over my shoulder, head on the swivel,” said, “I shouldn’t have to.
He said, “The death of Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr., 19 was especially disheartening. He was employed at the dollar store where he was killed. I just had a birthday three days ago. I just turned 24. I’m at a loss for words.”
Back in 2015, Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South California faced a similar racist attack leaving nine Black People dead. Wayne Jones, whose mother was killed in the attack said, “Someone is targeting young white men and telling them Blacks are taking over,” and blamed the persuasive writings and speeches for the racism he has experienced always.
While other nearby residents expressed, they feel the system is responsible for whatever the Black community has went through ever since.
Dakarai Singletary, a resident said, “No other group in America faces this type of open persecution often, and we just get thoughts and prayers every time, and it’s like, very frustrating. We had to lose 10 community members for people who see value in us. And that was just within this city. That hurts.”
Singletary helped the Tops survivors with food and other resources while the store was closed, with the help of S.U.N (Save Ur neighborhood), a non-profit organization. While he shared how much he wills to visit and help people in Jacksonville in any away possible.
Malik Stubbs stated – Black community got help after the Coverage of Tops incident, but still efforts need to be done. The community is full of inequity, that has Black men going to the Tops, due to insufficient grocery stores. While he said, efforts should be made for reducing violence and protecting the grocery stores.
Feeling the pain and sufferings of Black community and Buffalo residents, Stubbs asked, “When will it ever end?” Which remains a question for the Black community and the other people as well from ever.