BUFFALO, N.Y. — Members of VOICE Buffalo are calling for change after 13 people were shot, 10 fatally, at Tops on Jefferson Avenue last Saturday.
VOICE Buffalo is an organization that aims to bring forth social justice and equity through collective action. After Saturday’s massacre, they are demanding more resources to the area, and the permanent closure of Tops.
“You have to understand, people lost their parents in there. Their siblings. They lost close family members,” said Deacon Jerome Wright of VOICE Buffalo. “This is not something that happened to somebody else. This is something that happened to members in this community. Why would I want to walk across that threshold again?”
Rather than reopening, members of the group said they want to see new or other grocery stores in the area as well as other resources.
“Just like how they giving all this money to the people that’s hurting right now, they can build a Tops or a new store just like that,” said Michael Roberts, a resident of the neighborhood that was targeted by the racially-motivated attack.
Wright said spreading out resources throughout the city could help prevent future targeted attacks.
“The food. The services. The cashing. Lotto. All of that stuff happens in [Tops]. That should be happening in multiple places,” said Wright. “Nobody should be able to Google ‘where I can kill the most Black people’ and come up with a Tops in Buffalo.”
At this time, the Tops on Jefferson Avenue remains closed.