CenterState CEO Statement Regarding the Senseless and Horrific Tragedy in Buffalo

Posted on May 15, 2022

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Statement On Buffalo Tragedy Website Graphic 5.2022

A Statement from CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson

On Saturday, 13 people walked into the Tops Markets on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo. Some were grabbing a few things for an afternoon cookout, a birthday cake, or to get them through the weekend, or perhaps like so many, they were doing their weekly shopping. While this should be a mundane activity for these 13 people, it was not. Ten would lose their lives, three more would be seriously hurt when they were shot during in a targeted, racially motivated hate crime, and many others traumatized as the events unfolded around them. Eleven of these victims were Black. It is something that should never happen and yet it feels shamefully all too familiar. There is, rightfully, anger, frustration, and sadness. For many there is also the compounding trauma of yet more violence driven by hate and racism.

We stand with Buffalo and grieve as they do over this tragic, senseless loss of its community members, and fully condemn this and all forms of racial discrimination, violence and injustice. Since Saturday, CenterState CEO’s leadership team and staff have connected with our counterparts at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the area's regional chamber of commerce and privately funded economic development organization, to offer both our condolences and to understand their needs and how we can be supportive. We have also reached out to our member, Tops Markets.

As we grieve and reflect on yet another horrific tragedy, we also recognize we must do more to ensure that such hate and violence have no place in our communities. This moment provides sadly yet another call to action for us all. We can’t be silent while racism persists, costing people their lives and their sense of safety. It is why this organization made Racial Equity and Social Impact a core focus of our work. We have worked with dozens of members who recognize the business community’s leadership role in creating more inclusive, equitable communities, and we will continue to advance these efforts.

Yet in the wake of this tragedy, we recognize that this work alone is not enough. The common act of going to the grocery store on a Saturday should be safe for everyone. Therefore, we are committed to engaging with our counterparts, partners, and leaders across the state to work toward solutions and to support those affected by such tragedies. I hope you join me in standing with the Buffalo community, and in driving the meaningful and lasting change that is still so desperately needed.

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