OAKLAND — When many heard about last weekend’s tragic fatal shooting of 13 people at a Buffalo, NY, supermarket, it seemed more than anyone could bear.
But as several hundred people gathered downtown Wednesday to hear a lineup of speakers, many heard messages that reminded them that solidarity beats solitude and that grief is not weakness, and some swayed to brass-band rhythms and melodies as if joy was still possible in presence , even in the aching wake of absence.
‘It all started coming together Sunday very quickly, after noticing that not enough people were talking about the massacre of black people that happened Saturday in Buffalo,” organizer and Anti Police Terror Project co-founder Cat Brooks said of the vigil.
“We’re recognizing that black folks live daily with the trauma of white supremacist violence in this country, nd we don’t have a place to come together and talk about it to figure out how we’re going to move forward and have spaces to heal.”
Brooks said the vigil, which featured local healers and artists volunteering their time to give their time “as we process this and stand in solidarity with Buffalo.”
Just before leading his band members south along Broadway to Frank Ogawa Plaza, Michael “MJ” Jones said he grieved for the victim’s of Saturday’s shooting.
“That is a very tragic event. I’m feeling very sorry for those lost. My prayers, my heart, every entity within me goes out to those families. We have families. It could have been my brother, my sister, my loved one,” Jones said.
“The second line is bringing the folks together, bringing the community together, telling everybody that we are one race, the human race, and we do support each other. Back home, in life or death, we celebrate and life or death. In these deaths, we’re gonna celebrate the life that was lived by those who lost their lives.”