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May 17, 2022 | Press Release

BGCNEO’s statement on the Buffalo mass shooting

The mass shooting and racially motivated hate crime in Buffalo carried out by a known white supremacist is sickening. Our thoughts are with those impacted by this and other situations like it across our nation. Our hearts are especially broken for our teammates at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo, who have felt the brunt of this trauma with their kids and staff. CEO Shari McDonough is leading through this in such an amazing and inspiring way.

Our inability to look at our systems and demand actual change isn’t working as well as it should. It’s difficult in moments like this to help our young people make sense of something so senseless – and that’s just about the act itself. Everything that led up to the act is equally unacceptable and despicable. A known white supremacist, anti-semite and otherwise hateful individual, with previous threats, is allowed to purchase an automatic weapon, paint racial slurs on the barrel, live stream it on a social media platform, and gun down innocent people. He is then arrested in a straight-forward manner and given immediate due process – not something that is consistent with how we treat other accused.

The debate about whether we could or should have known about this person holds little weight. Twitch took down the livestream within two minutes – if they can proactively do that, how is it that similar platforms, the very ones that can turn our Google searches into targeted advertising within minutes, doesn’t have the ability to alert officials to a clearly threatening manifesto posted on the internet?

We will continue to look for ways to ensure our youth are as safe as possible in both online and physical spaces. We will continue to be hopeful and optimistic that acting as a united front against such hatred, good will prevail. We will continue to be who we are as the Boys & Girls Clubs, and strive to make the largest impact we can for our communities. We will continue to be brave and bold and just who we are – a beautiful mix of amazing people committed to a better future.

Our job and our mission is to help our young people make sense of the world and grow to become caring and thriving members of their communities, our society, and the world. In the wake of all the social injustice that has been more plainly demonstrated since the death of George Floyd, our organization has taken a stance that we will not tolerate racism or violence of any kind. Furthermore, we continue to keep youth safety as our top priority and have fought for our own kids in this process, Arthur Keith among them. We will continue that fight and our work to help our young people thrive.