Buffalo native mourns victims of mass shooting, plans prayer vigil in metro Atlanta

Metro Atlanta community planning vigil for Buffalo victims
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 6:50 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Porchse Miller says she is devastated by the mass shooting that happened in her hometown community, Buffalo, New York.

“It’s scary. It’s so scary,” Miller told CBS46. “Everybody is just shattered right now.”

Miller is an activist in Atlanta, but grew up in East Buffalo near the Tops supermarket that was targeted by18-year-old gunman Payton Gendron, who identified as a white supremacist. Police say Gendron walked into the store and shot 13 people. 10 people were killed. 11 of the victims were Black.

Miller said her great aunt, the matriarch of her family, shops at the Tops store weekly, but happened to be sleep Saturday when the shooting happened.

“She is the one who always goes there and goes shopping and pays her bills there,” Miller said. “It could’ve easily been her. It could’ve easily been my cousin, He was there the day before. It could’ve easily been anybody in my family.”

Across the country, the broader Black community is reeling from another targeted mass killing rooted in racial hatred. The Buffalo shooter referenced the mass killings at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, citing killer Dylann Roof as part of his inspiration.

Miller is organizing a prayer vigil for the Buffalo shooting victims and she wants to push for legislative changes.

“We want to know why we can’t get an anti-Black crime bill, hate crime bill passed?” Miller questioned.”

“Our goal is to show solidarity to the City of Buffalo, but after this vigil our actions is to go into our government and demand and anti-Black hate crime bill now. Black hatred has to stop,” she continued.

The Georgia NAACP president Gerald Griggs had a call with the FBI Monday afternoon to discuss needed changes following the shooting. He too is calling for legislative change.

“We’ve already been in contact with our senators and our elected representatives both in Georgia and the national level. We are calling for legislative changes. Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” Griggs said.

DeKalb County NAACP President Lance Hammonds plans to attend Miller’s vigil and shared concerns about the spread of white supremacy-based attacks.

“This was an attack on Black people,” Hammonds said. “We do not condone terrorism by white terrorists or terrorists of any color. It will not be tolerated. We don’t want this to be another shooting that is normalized.”

Miller’s vigil is sponsored by Just Georgia. It will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the parking lot of the Big Bear grocery store at 2849 Candler Road, Decatur, Georgia.