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The horrific massacre in Buffalo, N.Y. targeting Black shoppers at a local grocery store was a grim reminder that we must work harder and redouble our efforts to address the factors that fuel hate-driven rampages like the one that claimed ten lives and wounded three on Saturday.

My heart is with the families of those slain in Buffalo, grieving the unimaginable horror of violence aimed specifically at Black people in their own community.  The city of Buffalo holds a special place in my heart — it was the city where my family of Cuban emigres officially entered the U.S. So, it was particularly jarring and horrific to hear about the shootings in this city that I have always associated with our nation’s promise of liberty and justice for all.

Yet, the shooting in Buffalo takes its place in a terrible string of violent acts motivated by racism and bigotry – the locations all too familiar to us: Atlanta, El Paso, Orlando, Pittsburgh, and Charleston. Recent shootings at Asian-run businesses in Dallas are also being investigated as potentially racially motivated. White nationalism and white supremacy are driving up incidents of domestic terrorism nationwide, and what used to be considered the racist lunatic fringe has entered the mainstream, with violence as the extreme, yet inevitable, result. We are a fractured nation, far from realizing our own ideals.

As we grieve for the victims in Buffalo, we must examine our own responsibilities and capacity for reversing what has become a public health crisis. This Wednesday, the UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity will celebrate another year of outstanding work across our community to foster equity, diversity and inclusion in our culture and practices. That includes being mindful of how an act of targeted violence  can make members of our own community feel; if you are struggling with this tragedy, remember that it’s okay to ask for help — you’ll find resources in the sidebar. Although we still have a long way to go, I am so proud of the work OMA&D — and so many in our UW community – are doing to advance this work. We can, we must, do better– together.