The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jen Nessel, Center for Constitutional Rights,

In Grief, Rage, and Resistance: On the Buffalo Shooting and the Fight for Genuine Justice


In response to Saturday's killings in Buffalo, the Center for Constitutional Rights offers the following statement of solidarity:

We honor the lives and mourn the loss of the ten people murdered by an avowed white supremacist in a Buffalo supermarket on Saturday. We join Black communities - including our partners in Buffalo, Black Love Resists in the Rust - in their rage, grief, and righteous resistance to the intolerable persistence of anti-Black racism in this country. This killing grows out of a 400-year history of racist brutality that traces back to slavery and includes lynchings, mass incarceration, the many murders of Black people by police, and the violence of deprivation and exploitation that capitalism inflicts every day on Black communities.

Over the centuries, countless white people have used violence to try to maintain white supremacy, and there are people still waging this war. Cultivated online, increasingly global, and mainstreamed by politicians and media personalities, the latest incarnation of white nationalism has produced mass killings from El Paso to Charleston to Christchurch. The Buffalo suspect embraced "replacement theory," which a host of right-wing figures - including Tucker Carlson and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik - have espoused. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech; it does not cleanse hands of blood. There is no such thing as nonviolent racism.

Restricting speech or "misinformation," however, will not deliver justice to Black people. Particularly in the era of surveillance capitalism, this will only serve to further marginalize and criminalize voices of dissent, especially Black radicals, who already face intense scrutiny from law enforcement. Nor should we hope for relief from the criminal justice system, which itself is rooted in white supremacy. Only the long struggle for Black liberation and the attendant dismantling of racist systems might protect Black people from violence, in whatever form. It is this necessity of a more just world that drives us -- and to which, in our grief, we recommit.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

(212) 614-6464