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`Seeing Us` render provided by Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul
"Seeing Us" render provided by Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul

Hochul, Brown, 5/14 Memorial Commission unveil final design of memorial honoring victims of Tops shooting in Buffalo


Mon, May 13th 2024 04:00 pm

Governor announces additional state commitment of $4.1 million

√ ‘Seeing Us,’ chosen from 20 submissions, is result of months-long public engagement campaign that helped guide design process; see renderings here

Gov. Kathy Hochul, City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, and the 5/14 Memorial Commission, along with the families of those lost and injured and other community stakeholders, unveiled the final design of a permanent memorial honoring the victims of the Tops shooting in Buffalo on May 14, 2022. “Seeing Us,” designed by Jin Young Song and Douglass Alligood, was chosen from 20 submissions and was one of three finalists chosen by the commission.

Hochul also announced an additional state investment of $4.1 million toward siting, design and construction of the memorial, bringing the total state commitment to $5 million.

"As we approach the solemn two-year anniversary of when our neighbors were senselessly slaughtered solely because of the color of their skin, we rededicate ourselves in supporting the east Buffalo community, remembering those we lost, and supporting those who were injured," Hochul said. "Today’s unveiling of the final design chosen by the 5/14 Memorial Commission is the culmination of many meetings and conversations with the families of those impacted, as well as the community. I thank Mayor Brown, Rev. Blue and the members of the commission for their efforts in taking on this heavy task to honor the lives and legacies of those we lost and the community impacted by this tragedy.”

Brown said, “The second anniversary of the 5/14 racially motivated mass shooting is just hours away. It is, and will always be, a somber mark in our city’s history. Our city and region continue to mourn the lives that were taken by an out-of-town white supremacist on that day. I am proud of all the work the 5/14 Memorial Commission has done to create a memorial that reflects the wishes of the families and the community. I also thank the organizations and businesses that have helped us in this process.”

The final design proposes 10 interconnected pillars, inscribed with the names of victims and survivors, each with a unique arc and height, faced with stone. It also features a sweeping support building, which operates as a central hub for education, exhibitions, community activities, gatherings and events. Visitors will also find an elevated memorial walk on the roof of the support building.

The final design follows a public engagement campaign beginning in May 2023, which included public meetings and a community survey. The 5/14 Memorial Commission community survey gave the public a chance to share thoughts and feelings about the characteristics and elements included in the 5/14 Memorial.

Twenty design submissions were accepted from Nov. 1-Dec. 18, with those designs narrowed down to three finalists. The 5/14 Memorial Commission worked with the families of those lost and injured, and ultimately chose the final design with their input.

The permanent memorial is expected to cost nearly $15 million. The commission will now begin a yearlong fundraising campaign to raise the remaining funds needed to break ground. Hochul previously announced an initial investment of $900,000, and has announced an additional $4.1 million. Brown announced earlier this month the City of Buffalo would contribute $1 million toward the memorial.

Following the shooting at Tops, Hochul announced $50 million of targeted investments as part of the state's ongoing efforts to address the immediate needs of the community. The governor announced an additional $10 million investment on the one-year anniversary of the shooting. A press release noted, “New York state will continue to coordinate with the federal government, city, county, philanthropic and business partners, and grassroots leaders to address long-term needs in the community.”

Those lost on May 14 were Pearl Young, Ruth Whitfield, Margus D. Morrison, Andre Mackniel, Aaron Salter Jr., Geraldine Talley, Katherine Massey, Roberta A. Drury, Heyward Patterson and Celestine Chaney. The injured survivors are Zaire Goodman, Jennifer Warrington and Christopher Braden.

5/14 Memorial Commission Chairman Rev. Mark E. Blue said, "I have said it from the beginning of this process that we have just one time to get it right. We have reviewed the submissions. We have spoken with the families, and I am confident that we have made a good choice. What happened on 5/14 was an act of senseless violence and it was an act of hate. It's my intent to make sure we have a memorial that the families and the communities can be proud of."

Congressman Tim Kennedy said, "Our city continues to mourn the loss of the 10 beautiful souls who were stolen from us on 5/14. We joined together as a community to support the families who lost their loved ones, and it is fitting that we are joining together once again to announce the selection for a permanent memorial that will honor the lives of love, dedication and kindness that was led by each of the victims of this evil act. We will continue to honor their memories, as they deserve."

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "Our community and families continue to heal as we approach the sec anniversary of a tragic day in Buffalo's history. We are a strong and resilient community, the City of Good Neighbors, and will continue to need ongoing support. I commend Gov. Hochul, Mayor Brown, Rev. Blue and the members of the 5/14 Commission for their efforts in selecting a memorial design to properly honor the lives and memories of those we lost to a senseless act of domestic terrorism. I look forward to aiding and seeing the final product."

Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader Leah M. Halton-Pope said, "As we approach the two-year mark since the racially motivated massacre of 10 innocent lives in our community, this memorial will not only commemorate their tragic loss but also stand resolute in our collective commitment to combat racism, hatred and bigotry. As we continue to fight against racism in our country and move forward, may this memorial shine as a symbol of remembrance, strength and solidarity against prejudice and violence. I extend my appreciation to Gov. Hochul, Mayor Brown, and the dedicated members of the 5/14 Memorial Commission for their dedication to this memorial."

Council member Zeneta B. Everhart said, "As we approach two years since 5/14, I reflect not just as the Masten District councilwoman or an elected leader, but as a mother who has felt the piercing pain of gun violence firsthand. My son's journey to recovery is a testament to the resilience of our community, but it's also a stark reminder of the scars left behind by that tragic day on 5/14. As we honor the memory of those we lost and continue to support those who were injured and are still recovering, let us not forget the deep wounds that still linger in our city and community. The unveiling of the final design for the memorial is not just about erecting a monument; it's about weaving together the threads of our collective grief and resilience into a tapestry of remembrance and hope. May this memorial stand as a beacon of unity and justice, reminding us all that we are stronger together in the face of racism, hatred and violence. I also want to thank Gov. Hochul, Mayor Brown, and members of the commission for our shared dedication and commitment to honoring the memory of those we lost on 5/14."

5/14 Memorial Commission

The 5/14 Memorial Commission was established in October 2022 by Hochul and Brown. It consists of 11 members: five appointed by the governor, five appointed by the mayor, and a chair jointly appointed. For more information about the 5/14 Memorial Commission, visit www.514memorial.com.

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