VP Harris tells Buffalo mourners: ‘We will come together’

May 27, 2022, 4:42 PM | Updated: May 28, 2022, 2:47 pm
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with members of the press before boarding Air Force Two at Buff...

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with members of the press before boarding Air Force Two at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Saturday, May 28, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. Harris is returning to Washington after attending a memorial service for Ruth Whitfield, a victim of the Buffalo supermarket shooting. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Mourners laid to rest the last of 10 Black people killed in a racist attack at a Buffalo supermarket with a service on Saturday that became a call to action and an emotional plea to end the hate and violence that has wracked the nation.

The funeral for 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield — the oldest of the 10 people killed in the attack two weeks ago — included an impromptu speech by Vice President Kamala Harris. She attended the service at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Buffalo with second gentleman Doug Emhoff.

Harris told the mourners this is a moment in time for “all good people” to stand up to the injustice that happened at the Tops Friendly Market on May 14, as well as at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and in other mass shootings.

“This is a moment that requires all good people, all God-loving people to stand up and say we will not stand for this. Enough is enough,” said Harris, who wasn’t scheduled to speak and came to the microphone at the urging of the Rev. Al Sharpton. “We will come together based on what we all know we have in common, and we will not let those people who are motivated by hate separate us or make us feel fear.”

Following the funeral, Harris and Emhoff visited a memorial outside the supermarket. The vice president left a large bouquet of white flowers, and the pair paused to pray for several minutes. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden had placed flowers at the same memorial on May 17 and had visited with the victims’ families. Biden is expected to head to Texas for a visit this weekend with the families of victim’s of Tuesday’s school shooting.

Harris later told reporters that the administration is not “sitting around waiting to figure out what the solution looks like” to the nation’s gun violence problem.

“We know what works on that,” she said, reiterating support for background checks and a ban on assault weapons.

“Let’s have an assault weapons ban,” she said. “An assault weapon is a weapon of war with no place, no place in civil society. Background checks: Why should anyone be able to buy a weapon that can kill other human beings without at least knowing: Hey, that person committed a violent crime before, are they a threat against themselves or others?”

Harris said the nation has to come together, as well.

“We have to agree that if we are to be strong as a nation, we must stand strong, identifying our diversity as our unity,” she said.

It’s been a sad week of goodbyes for family and friends of the Buffalo shooting victims, a group that includes a restaurant worker who went to the market to buy his 3-year-old’s birthday cake; a father and die-hard Buffalo Bills fan who worked as a school bus aide; and a 32-year-old sister who moved to the city to help a brother battling leukemia.

Whitfield, a grandmother and mother of four, had been inside the supermarket after visiting her husband of 68 years in a nursing home when a gunman identified by police as 18-year-old Payton Gendron began the deadly onslaught.

Authorities said Gendron, who is white, targeted the store three hours from his home in Conklin because it is in a predominantly Black neighborhood.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who delivered a fiery tribute to Whitfield at the beginning of the funeral service, called for all “accomplices” who aided and abetted “this monster” who opened fire in the supermarket to be held accountable, from the gun manufacturers and distributors to the parents of the suspect.

Crump said those those who “instructed and radicalized this young, insecure individual” should also be held to account for taking Whitfield from her family, the Buffalo community and the planet. He called her “one of the most angelic figures that we have ever known.”

“It is a sin that this young depraved man, not a boy, went and killed Ruth Whitfield and the ‘Buffalo 10,'” Crump said, referring to the victims.

Sharpton described being floored to learn the shooter live-streamed his assault on Twitch, noting how his mother had grown up in Alabama, where hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan once killed Black people.

Today, he said, white supremacists “are proud to practice racism.”

Sharpton made a pitch for gun control measures during his eulogy, saying all communities need to come together and “disarm the haters.”

“There is an epidemic of racial violence that is accommodated by gun laws that allow people to kill us,” he said. “You ain’t got to love us, but you shouldn’t have easy access to military weapons to kill us.”

In all, 13 people were shot in the attack which federal authorities are investigating as a hate crime. Three people survived.

Whitfield was the mother of former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield.

Gendron is charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail. His attorney has entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

__

Pool reports were contributed to this story. Haigh reported from Connecticut.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)...
Associated Press

Fish and Wildlife shoots wrong wolf, more attacks confirmed

Wolves from two packs in northeast Washington state have attacked more cattle
15 hours ago
FILE - Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., listens during a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Ket...
Associated Press

All eyes on Nebraska Gov. Ricketts to replace Sen. Sasse

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — With Ben Sasse apparently ready to resign his Nebraska U.S. Senate seat to become president of the University of Florida, speculation is rampant that his temporary replacement could be Gov. Pete Ricketts. Ricketts, who like Sasse is a Republican, would otherwise be out of a political job due to term limits […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio., Sept. 17, 202...
Associated Press

Trump super PAC reserves millions in airtime in key states

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is finally opening his checkbook, reserving millions of dollars in airtime for ads to bolster his endorsed candidates in key midterm races just one month before Election Day. Trump’s newly-formed MAGA Inc. super PAC has so far placed reservations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Arizona, according to the […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Court rejects request to rehear gender dysphoria case

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Friday denied a request to rehear a case that found that gender dysphoria is a condition covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. In August, a three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals became the first federal appellate court in the country […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., questions the first panel of a Senate Homeland Security and Govern...
Associated Press

Johnson, Barnes to debate in tight Wisconsin Senate race

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes were set to meet Friday night in the first of two planned debates in a close race that could help decide control of the U.S. Senate. Johnson, seeking his third term, and Barnes, Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, agreed to a one-hour, televised debate […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

St. Lucia charges president of island’s Senate

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Authorities in the eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia announced Friday that the president of its Senate faces criminal charges. Officials did not specify the charges, but instead referred to a legal code that relates to the perversion of justice. No further details were immediately available. St. Lucia Prime […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
VP Harris tells Buffalo mourners: ‘We will come together’