JAMESTOWN – The Human Rights Commission will host a vigil for the victims of the racially-motivated Buffalo shooting outside City Hall at noon on Friday.
Reverend Uvie Stewart, chairman of the Human Rights Commission in Jamestown, grew up near the Jefferson Avenue Tops where the shooting took place.
“It’s heart wrenching to see the tragedy like that. I thought it would be a great idea as we as a people of Jamestown to come together just to celebrate one another,” says Stewart. “When you have a tragedy like that, not only does it affect there, but it affects the areas around also. We need each other.”
Stewart says the event will include speakers, as well as an opportunity for neighbors to lean on one another in this time of sorrow.
“I think one of the things we have to reduce the fears between the different groups, and we reduce that by getting to know one another. When I came to Jamestown, you didn’t have to lock your doors, it was that peaceful. And we got to know all our neighbors, the kids played together, we played football, basketball, whatever. Different schools, different places, and we all kinda got along,” says Stewart.
Jamestown residents Marie and Edward Vos hope that the vigil will be a good place to build relationships to help eliminate the feeling of “otherness.”
“I don’t understand the hate that people can have for people they don’t know. Hate that’s based on crazy conspiracy theories that are wrong. That they judge someone as unworthy just because of the color of their skin. It’s incomprehensible, I cannot understand that level of hate,” says Marie Vos.
Marie’s husband Edwards says that while the shooting is painful to think about, it made him come to some even more painful realizations.
“As I thought about it more, unfortunately, this is America,” says Edward Vos. “I don’t like it, but this is who we are. This is who we vote for. This is stupid. And all the lies and conspiracy crap that feed the news that this individual watched and learned from while he was in COVID lockdown is disgusting.”
Marie continued that it is not on neglected communities to make the change for themselves, it is on those who have been putting them down to make the change. Edward furthred that the education of the oppression minority communities have felt and admitting our own faults is key to moving forward.