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Commission to host first public meeting June 13 at Stanley Makowski Early Childhood Center
√ Commission launches website, University at Buffalo Regional Institute to develop community survey
Gov. Kathy Hochul and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced the May 14th Memorial Commission will begin a public engagement campaign seeking the input of the community on siting and design of a future memorial.
The commission will hold its first public meeting from 4:30-7:30 p.m. June 13 at the Stanley Makowski Early Childhood Center. The commission also launched a website and is working with the University at Buffalo Regional Institute to develop a community survey where members of the community who are unable to attend public meetings can submit comments and also stay up-to-date on the workings of the group.
"As we approach the one-year anniversary of this horrific, racist act of terror, we are steadfast in our commitment to supporting the east Buffalo community and making sure we never forget our 10 neighbors who were senselessly taken from us," Hochul said. "This memorial will honor the lives and legacies of those we lost, but it will also be shared with the community and reflect its strength and resiliency, which is why engaging with the public is a crucial step forward."
Brown said, "The Buffalo community came together in exemplary ways to support and lift up the east Buffalo community after the senseless, racist murder of 10 innocent people. The May 14th Memorial Commission is committed to remembering and honoring those we lost on that day. We will build a permanent memorial to reinforce our belief in the City of Good Neighbors that love will always triumph over hate."
The commission was established in October 2022 by Hochul and Brown in response to the mass shooting at the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue. It consists of 11 community volunteer members. Buffalo NAACP President the Rev. Mark E. Blue serves as chair.
Blue said, "This memorial not only honors the lives of those lost on May 14, but also the resiliency and power of the east Buffalo community. As a Buffalo native, I have seen firsthand what public engagement campaigns can do to keep the community connected, help one another feel supported, and pay tribute to the lives lost and their families."
The commission has been tasked with developing and implementing a plan to site and build a physical memorial in east Buffalo to memorialize the life and legacy of those lost. The members will be assigned to a subcommittee that will meet separately and report back to the full body.
The commission will focus on the following topics:
√ Siting and acquiring land
√ Community and family engagement plans
√ Architect selection and design concepts
√ Memorial maintenance and area beautification
New York state and the City of Buffalo previously announced their intention to make specific financial commitments to the project in the future, with the amount to be determined based on scope and scale of project recommended by the commission and in concert with state legislative partners.
Following the shooting, Hochul announced the state would partner with the City of Buffalo to launch a memorial commission and make $50 million of targeted investments as part of the state's ongoing efforts to address the immediate needs of the community. New York state will continue to coordinate with city, county, philanthropic and business partners, and grassroots leaders to address long-term needs in the community.
Those lost during the May 14 shooting are Pearl Young, Ruth Whitfield, Margus D. Morrison, Andre Mackniel, Aaron Salter Jr., Geraldine Talley, Katherine Massey, Roberta A. Drury, Heyward Patterson and Celestine Chaney.