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Families of Buffalo shooting victims testify in front of Congress

  • / Updated:
  • Megan Hatch 

On Tuesday morning, Garnell Whitfield, Jr., the son of victim Ruth Whitfield of the mass shooting at Tops in Buffalo, testified before a congressional hearing on domestic terrorism.

In the congressional hearing, Whitfield Jr. addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee about domestic terrorism and the threat posed by white supremacists and other extremists after the death of his mother.

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The mass shooting that killed Whitfield’s mother was carried out by Payton Gendron, an 18-year-old white supremacist, who planned the attack for months.

The Former Buffalo Fire Commissioner asked Congress to act against the “cancer of white supremacy” and the current epidemic of gun violence in the nation.  According to the Associated Press, Whitfield Jr. asked members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “What are you doing? You were elected to protect us.”

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“Is there nothing that you personally are willing to do to stop the cancer of white supremacy and the domestic terrorism it inspires?” he asked. “If there is nothing then, respectfully, senators … you should yield your positions of authority and influence to others that are willing to lead on this issue,” said Whitfield Jr.

According to the gunman’s diary which included hand-drawn maps of the grocery store along with tallies of the number of Black people he counted there.

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Victims’ families put pressure on Congress to act on America’s gun violence.

Among the others who will testify is the mother of one of the 10 Buffalo mass shooting victims, the parents of one of the 19 children killed in the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school, and a fourth-grader from the school, Miah Cerrillo.

The parents and Cerrillo will testify at the House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee’s hearing on June 8.

The goal of these public hearings and events on Capitol Hill is to show congressmen and women that there is a human toll when it comes to gun violence in the country and to push Congress to make it harder for gun violence to continue.

Soon after the Buffalo shooting, a bill was proposed that would’ve supported federal resources to prevent domestic terrorism, however, it failed in the Senate due to Republican opposition.

Alternative ideas include looking for problem spots in the records of juvenile offenders before allowing adults to purchase weapons, and encouraging states to pursue red-flag laws which would ban the selling of guns to people who would do harm.

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