President Yager Addresses Violence in Buffalo

Originally sent to students, faculty and staff May 16, 2022

To the UArts community,

My heart breaks for the people in Buffalo, and the people killed by a white supremacist and terrorist in the middle of a routine errand: going to the grocery store. I am also struck by the painful impact of gun violence and those individuals killed this weekend, in places such as Milwaukee, Los Angeles and here at home in Philadelphia.

On Saturday, 13 grocery shoppers and store employees were shot by a self-avowed white supremacist, who specifically targeted an area of Buffalo known for its sizable Black population. Ten of these individuals died: Celestine Chaney, Roberta Drury, Andre Mackneil, Katherine Massey, Margus Morrison, Heyward Patterson, Aaron Salter Jr., Geraldine Talley, Ruth Whitfield and Pearl Young. My thoughts remain with all of the families who lost loved ones in this attack, and the three victims who were injured, Christopher Braden, Zaire Goodman and Jennifer Warrington.

Make no mistake, what happened on the East Side of Buffalo was a violent act of racism and domestic terror, conducted by a young man radicalized across mainstream discourse and the darkest corners of the internet. This most recent devastating tragedy joins a vicious series of hateful massacres. The racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and ideologies that have fueled these atrocities are publicly documented and completely appalling.

In times like these, individuals and allies often look for pathways to constructively support those most impacted and to help shape a better world. While many in our community are already dispersed and on to their plans for the summer, I know that this UArts community is always available to support each other, to listen to the experiences and concerns of Black individuals and others who are directly affected, and to work together to dismantle racism on our campus, as well as throughout society.

One of the most concrete ways we can change the future is to express our voices and to vote. At this busy time of year, tomorrow’s primary election here in Pennsylvania may not seem consequential. However, I strongly urge you to seek out information and resources, in order to fully participate in our democratic process.

Sincerely,

David Yager

Resources & Support

  • To file a report: uarts.edu/concern or call 215-717-6666. Counseling is available to provide support as students process this incident of terrorism
  • Email counseling@uarts.edu
  • The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility Committee seeks to further our core value of Integrity & Diversity, and offers a range of resources and pathways for engagement.
  • Visit the local chapter of the NAACP, which offers resources to address systemic racism, stand up to injustice and advocate for equality
  • Many organizations and charities are participating in efforts to support victims and affected neighbors in Buffalo. If you choose to donate to any such entity, please do your research and ensure that the organization is well-established and legitimate.