My hometown, actually is North Tonawanda, a suburb of Buffalo, but I identify as a Buffalonian. Buffalo Strong is who I was raised to be. Now living an hour away in Rochester we still go to Buffalo because there are things we cannot get here. There is the Broadway Market, and the food and the people.
Flash back to Saturday as we were returning from Nashville, to hear the news of a devastating shooting. My first reaction was what Tops? George read the details to me and it wasn’t a far stretch of the imagination that it was racially motivated. I immediately knew it was a white male teenager. No it wasn’t my psychic abilities that was pure journalism as George would say.
My second reaction was about how that area is such a food desert. One friend said it “Wegmans wouldn’t touch that area” and it is true. They did post a nice tweet of support. They really should look at announcing a new store in the area.
I have several other friends that used that Top’s on a regular basis. I have used it after having showings in that area when I was a REALTOR. An area that I once had a white police officer pull me over and tell me this was not a neighborhood I should be in. It was 2pm in the afternoon.
Responsibility to Speak
I am a white woman who has amazing amount of privilege. Writing about my hometown and this tragedy has made me uncomfortable. Then again I have a whole section of uncomfortable conversations here. Volunteering at the Susan B. Anthony house we have always faced the difficult discussions regarding race. Susan B. Anthony first was an Abolitionist. She may have not handled herself perfectly from our view in history, but she was a revolutionary of her time.
I have had a few days to sit with it all the hate, the violence, the inequity. I have learned that we must speak out, hold our Political Representatives accountable. We also have to change ourselves and overcome our own darkness to be able to move forward. Learn to manage our own energy and find ways to meet others part way. Find the compassion the world needs.
Be the Example
Friday was a happy day for us. George’s daughter Thalia graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. We celebrated her graduation and her birthday. It was wonderful. We had a couple of days to take the drive home.
On Sunday we had the opportunity to stop at Lily Dale and it was just what I needed to be reminded. My faith is based on love. Sharing that love and respect for others is what we need to do in times like this. My heart breaks not only for the victims and their families, but every member of that community.
Stop Living in Fear
Here is the thing. There are people who are in power and they like it. You could say they are drunk on it. They don’t want to lose it. They want us to live in fear. Because they can control the message. Those in power are nothing more than bullies. Accepting differences is not easy. In fact, tolerance is hard, but there has to be a line. Tolerance doesn’t mean accepting bad behavior or worse. We must call out racism and all the hate.
What My Hometown Needs to Do
Well not just Buffalo, but mankind in general must become the example in this time. What is acceptable and not acceptable behavior towards a fellow human being; man or woman, black or white. It is inconceivable that we have to still have such conversations. But then again, those that fear that they will lose their power if they let go of such belief systems.
I know this is unacceptable behavior and I am a voice for those that cannot speak. WE are tired of it and we want the negativity and hatred to stop. The only way to get this behavior to change is to stand up to it. No matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel. Only then we will change my hometown (or the world for that matter) we want to see for our children. One that is inclusive, accepting and respectful.
You do not have to accept poor behavior. You do have to control your reactions. If you do nothing, you are no better than those behaving poorly. Now I ask –what are you going to do?