BUFFALO, N.Y. — With the Buffalo mass shooter inching toward a sentence in federal court, many upstate New York communities are being forced to relive the trauma of 5/14, highlighting a major issue in the Black community.

Mental health clinicians at BestSelf say a big issue for predominantly Black communities, like East Buffalo where the shooting took place, is overcoming health disparities.

A health equity report was just released in Erie County, which shows the majority of communities with major health disparities were those that are predominantly Black and other minorities.

Speaking about how this can impact people on an individual and community-wide basis, clinicians and social justice leaders said what it boils down to is that the systems currently in place do not equitably serve Black communities.

This lack of access to care can have not only physical health repercussions, but also mental health.

In spite of all that, clinicians with BestSelf say their efforts to reach people rely on building trust.

“I’ve heard a couple of times people ask, ‘what’s next?’” said Kelly Dumas, BestSelf WNY chief operating officer. “I think this is next. We have to not get tired and fatigued by it and think that it’s time to move on. These are problems. They did not come about overnight. They’re not going to be fixed overnight.”