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Victims of Buffalo mass shooting, black survivors honoured at candlelight vigil in Hamilton

Musician Mosa McNeilly poured libations at a vigil in front of Hamilton City Hall on Monday in memory of the victims of the Buffalo massacre and those affected by white supremacist violence. Global News

A pair of community engagement groups brought residents out to Hamilton’s City Hall forecourt on Monday night to remember victims of the Buffalo mass shooting and Black survivors of white supremacist violence.

Hosted by Hamilton’s Afro-Canadian Caribbean Association (ACCA) and the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) the vigil created a space to mourn those who have lost their lives at the hands of white supremacy.

Read more: Biden calls Buffalo mass shooting ‘domestic terrorism,’ condemns ‘replacement theory’

“So yes, (it’s about) remembering the victims, but also having that healing process,” said vigil organizer Lindon Barrett.

“Time after time, we see these images on media of black men being beat up or some type of prosecution happening. So that healing process … letting go of the pain … coming to a stance and saying remembering them but actually reflecting for our children that they’re healing through this.”

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Hamilton community members gathered in the City Hall forecourt on Monday to remember those impacted by white supremacist violence. Global News

Guest speakers included psychotherapist Michael Opoku-Forfieh, Order of Canada Inductee Gary Warner, drummer and Afro spiritualist Mosa McNeilly, and ACCA president Evelyn Myrie.

“This candlelight vigil is another way for us to protest over the atrocities committed against black bodies in the name of white supremacy ideology,” Myrie told onlookers on Monday.

“We stand together against all forms of atrocities, against racism, colonization and dehumanization of black people.”

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NDP MPP Sandy Shaw, mayoral candidate and former chamber of commerce boss Keanin Loomis, and Hamilton Centre Coun. Nrinder Nann were also on hand.

The Buffalo, N.Y., shooting, in which 10 black Americans were killed at a supermarket, has been acknowledged by U.S. President Joe Biden as a white supremacist crime.

Attendees and speakers also acknowledged other events of similar indignation like the banning of the Hamilton Hindu Samaj Temple in 2001 following the 9-11 terror attacks and the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death.

Buffalo-based musician Cottreezy, who had a chance to speak on Monday, thanked supporters for showing solidarity with his hometown and admitted the May 14 shooting brought a lot of “hurt and sorrow'” to a city he believes will recover from the tragedy.

Read more: What is white replacement theory? Police probe conspiracy’s role in Buffalo shooting

“What’s happening right now is this has galvanized this area,” Cottreezy said.

“Now, all of a sudden, it’s put a microscope on what that area really needed. It needed more education, it needed more jobs, there’s another grocery store coming in now, there’s more charity work.”

Lindon Barrett said Hamiltonians should be conscious of the similarities between Buffalo and their own municipality, which he said needs more focus on the issue of racism to avoid similar setbacks recently seen in the U.S.

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“It does happen here, not as severe, but actually teaching our students, our youth how to react to it … not negatively … there’s a way to actually deal with it,” Barrett said.

Donations for familiies and individuals impacted by the the Buffalo shooting can be made through GoFundMe.

 

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