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Editor's Note: Filmmakers Eric Wojtanik (Brater colleague) and Mary Wall grew up in the Buffalo area and maintain strong connections with the Buffalo community. Their award-winning documentary, The Fan Connection, provides a revealing and heart-warming study of indefatigable Buffalo Sabres fans. Upon the recent tragic events in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, Eric and Mary sent the following to their web followers. We are reprinting their thoughts and call to action here with their permission.

We remain heartbroken for Buffalo, the Black community, and especially the people in the Jefferson Ave. neighborhood following the racist attack that took place at the Tops supermarket on May 14th. Ten human beings were killed, three more physically injured, and countless others traumatized in the name of racist terrorism. The trauma and grief are only just beginning.

It's incomprehensible that 10 days later a second mass shooting at an elementary school killed 19 children, two teachers, and injured another 17 people. Uvalde, Texas, like the Jefferson Ave. community, is now forever changed by a monstrous act of violence. These devastated communities are in need of support and compassion today, tomorrow, and in the months and years ahead. In WNY we've seen donations of cash, food, essentials, and other support services. Volunteers of all kinds have come to the area. We hope these collective efforts offer a step along the path to healing, but we also must remember that this reactive kindness is just that, one step.

The support for the Black community in Buffalo and everywhere cannot fade as we get further removed from the violent shooting on May 14th. Decades of systemic racist policies have segregated Western New York so deeply that a terrorist drove over three hours to kill Black people here. It is beyond time to not only root out ideological racism, but also racist policy and power. We wish we had immediate answers, but as Dr. Taylor once told us, "...we want you to do what you do, what your passion is, and to find a way to make that connected." As we search for the ways we can connect what we do to help make a better, safer, more just world, we humbly ask you to do the same - no matter how big or small it may feel. While it can often seem as if our small efforts aren't making a dent, Dr. Taylor also reminded us of the work of the Underground Railroad, "...the collective efforts of all of these hundreds of people doing little things - little things - helped to change the world."

Below is information on how you can offer immediate support to the Jefferson Ave. neighborhood in Buffalo and to the Uvalde, TX community:

Jefferson Ave.:

Uvalde, TX:

-- Eric Wojtanik & Mary Wall
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