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Presiding bishop to visit communities marking one year since mass shootings, as U.S. death toll rises

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden pay their respects at a memorial to the victims of the May 14, 2022 shooting at Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. Photo/ White House photo by Adam Schultz

By David Paulsen

Episcopal News Service

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was in Buffalo, N.Y., the weekend of May 12-14 to join the Western New York community in marking one year since May 14, 2022, when a racist rampage at a grocery store left 10 dead – one of the deadliest in a year full of deadly mass shootings in the United States.

Curry, a native of Buffalo, was to participate in a panel discussion May 12 as part of a series of remembrance events planned for the weekend. The panel, discussing the theme “Beyond Hate,” also will include Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, State University of New York Chancellor John King Jr. and Spellman College President Helene Gayle.

“The loss of any human life is tragic, but there was deep racial hatred driving this shooting, and we have got to turn from the deadly path our nation has walked for much too long,” Curry said last year after the attack. “As baptized followers of Jesus of Nazareth, we are called to uphold and protect the dignity of every human child of God, and to actively uproot the white supremacy and racism deep in the heart of our shared life.”

The Buffalo massacre was the first of nearly 50 shootings in the United States in the past year in which four or more people died, according to the database maintained by the Gun Violence Archive. There have been 21 such shootings so far in 2023 alone.

The 18-year-old white gunman, most of whose victims were Black, pleaded guilty in November to murder and hate crime charges and was later sentenced to life in prison. The attack drew comparisons to other racially and ethnically motivated massacres, including the 2015 shooting at Mother Emanuel African Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine Black church members.

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