Buffalo’s Black Christians Grieve the ‘Evil Among Us’

Angry but not shocked at racist violence, the victims’ families at funerals this week have a prayer: Let these deaths not be in vain.

Buffalo this week is bearing the heaviness of 10 funerals all at once.

Even though organizers tried to stagger funeral times, hundreds of cars converged on one cemetery on Wednesday for back-to-back burials. One local congregation, Elim Christian Fellowship, held memorials two days in a row this week, gathering hundreds to cry, sing, and proclaim that death did not have the last word over the loved ones they lost.

The church called for 30 days of mourning in honor of longtime member Celestine Chaney, 65. Chaney was among the 10 people killed in a racist attack at their local grocery store back on May 14. Most of the victims were devout Christians, active in Black churches in Buffalo.

The city’s Christians aren’t rushing the grieving process, even as national news reporters have left town and attention has shifted to another horrifying shooting at a Texas elementary school.

“I’m sure God is angry with what he sees,” said Bishop Glenwood Young Sr., who leads the Church of God in Christ in Western New York. Young’s sister-in-law, 77-year-old Pearl Young, was one of the victims at Tops Friendly Market.

The grief and anger in Buffalo is different than after other recent mass shootings. The shooter, based on officials’ accounts, targeted Black people because of his white supremacist beliefs. He killed the elderly, people called mother and auntie by their friends and neighbors. The incident added to the poor neighborhood’s troubles by creating a food desert, with the grocery store indefinitely closed after the shooting.

At the funerals and around the community, conversations swelled with righteous anger. CT heard from people who held to a firm belief that God would do something to address …

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