Statement on the racially-motivated attack in Buffalo

Press Release
May 15, 2022

 Statement on the racially-motivated attack in Buffalo

We are heartbroken for the ten lives lost and three others wounded yesterday in the racially- motivated attack in Buffalo. We are heartbroken for the families shattered. We are heartbroken for the Black community that again – still – finds itself under literal attack by those who use hate as an emotional and physical weapon.

The attack in Buffalo, perpetrated by an 18-year-old suspect, had two clear goals: to destroy Black lives and to make Black people feel they are not safe and not welcome. So let’s call the shooting in Buffalo what it is: a hate crime being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism.

For generations, African Americans have suffered physical and psychological trauma at the hands of domestic terrorists. The Ku Klux Klan and mobs intimidated and murdered countless African Americans from the end of the Civil War through the 20th century. An entire community was destroyed and burned to the ground by a white mob in Tulsa in 1921. Places of worship were deliberately targeted in Alabama in the 1960s and even as recently as 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Now, we see even grocery stores are not safe for Black people. The generational trauma suffered by the Black community in America has endured for over 400 years.

We must do more to root out hate in this country. We must declare and back with more effective action – personal and collective – to make it clear to all that hate has no place in this country.

We are heartbroken, we are tired, but we are resilient. We will persevere with cooperation and the courage of others who join us in our journey toward equity and freedom – including the freedom from fear – for all. Stand with us as we stand against hate.

Woodrow Keown, Jr.

President & COO
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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