Advocates gather in Newark to denounce racism in aftermath of Buffalo supermarket shooting
Local leaders held a press conference in Newark Thursday to denounce what they called an act of white supremacy that occurred in Buffalo, New York last weekend.
The People's Organization for Progress gathered here in Newark at the Lincoln memorial like they have many times before, to demand action from the state to prevent what happened in Buffalo from happening in New Jersey. The rally started with a moment of silence followed by a reading of the names of the Buffalo massacre victims.
An 18-year-old man is accused of fatally shooting 10 people and wounding three others at a Tops grocery store.
“This may be one of the worst acts of racist violence in this part of the country, maybe in the country to date,” said Lawrence Hamm, of the People’s Organization for Progress.
Authorities are calling the shooting a hate crime. They say the alleged shooter chose that area because it was predominantly Black. Leaders in New Jersey denounced the act of domestic terrorism and called on the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness to act.
"Every year since 2020, [New Jersey Homeland Security] has issued a report and said that white racist extremism is the greatest threat to public safety in this state,” said Hamm. “But we have not really seen any evidence of any action being taken on the issue.”
The group says the fear is that if preventative measures are not taken, New Jersey could see similar incidents. Lakewood, Toms River and Jersey City were all listed in the shooter’s 180-page diatribe.
“In every state throughout the United States there are people of color, there are supermarkets where people of color shop,” said Charles Hall with Local 108.
The People’s Organization for Progress, along with other grassroots organizations, is calling on state leaders to organize a statewide conference on racially motivated domestic terrorism and hate crimes. Cities like Jersey City, plan to host active shooter training in the coming days.
The group decided to hold the press conference on Thursday because it was Malcolm X’s birthday. He was a fierce opponent of racism and racial violence against Black people.