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Catholic Charities issues statement regarding Jefferson Avenue Tops shooting

Our hearts are broken by the atrocities committed in our community on Saturday. We grieve for the lives lost, cut short by senseless, hate-fueled violence. We grieve for their families and friends who must now go on without them. We grieve for all those who were shopping and working at the Jefferson Avenue Tops at the time of the attack, and for their sense of peace, safety, normalcy that were all ripped away in a matter of minutes.

We condemn all acts of violence and racism. They have no room in our community, our city, our world. One of our guiding principles has always been “welcoming the stranger.” Catholic Charities works to create and foster a welcoming atmosphere for all people – whether newcomers or life-long residents – and to ensure that every person feels safe and cared for. As we grapple with what unfolded Saturday, we will build on this principle of opening our arms to our community, restoring our sense of peace and inclusion, and most importantly, taking care of one another.

Presently, we are working to best identify the current needs of the East Side community and beyond to determine how we can offer direct, meaningful assistance. In the meantime, we’d like to remind all that we offer counseling across our eight counties of Western New York, and can also help with basic needs assistance, such as food, toiletries, and diapers. We stand ready to support and care for those who come to us in this time of tragedy.

As we continue to navigate the days ahead, we hope you turn toward one another and nurture our human connection, finding the goodness of Christ in each other. In the face of hatred and divisiveness, our love and care for one another is our greatest strength. We continue to pray for peace, compassion, love, and light. Together we will find a way through.