This weekend’s supermarket shooting in Buffalo, New York, provides yet another heart-breaking example of the racially motivated mass murders that plague American society. Every one of these relentless incidents is a profound tragedy. But our horror and revulsion are compounded when they are motivated – as this latest one clearly appears to have been – by hate-fueled ideologies.
In time, we will learn more about the individual who was arrested and how this incident might have been prevented. But no investigation is needed to know that the beliefs that inspired these killings have nothing in common with the highest ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion in a multi-racial democracy, where respect for our shared humanity outweighs ideology and political party and confronts demagoguery. And no investigation is needed to know that the beliefs that inspired these killings are not unique to the individual who was arrested. Radical conspiracy theories and racist rhetoric are far more common, and more accepted, in our society than they should be. We have a shared responsibility to speak out against such theories and rhetoric and to hold our leaders, our institutions, and each other accountable to the democratic ideals of equality and inclusion.
We express our deepest sympathy for the victims of the Buffalo shooting, for their families, and for all of those who have been the objects of the hate-fueled ideologies that aim to divide our country. As representatives of the bar, we remain committed to equality for all under the law, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status. Like all of society, we must also remain open to listening and dialogue – both to identify how best to move forward collectively and to understand the perspectives of all who feel at risk.