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I was shocked like many of you to hear the news of the shooting that occurred in Buffalo, NY at the TOPS Supermarket. Over the last few years prior to coming back to POWER, I served as the Northeast Regional Director for Faith in Action. In that time frame, I made more than 20 trips to Buffalo meeting with Clergy, Ley leaders and Organizers on the ground. The African American community is very tight knit and there is not a corner of it that has not been impacted by this violent act of white nationalist terrorism. Yet, I am reminded that this could have easily happened in Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, Norristown or the many communities in Pennsylvania that constitute large segments of African American/Black, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, Indigenous or Bi-Racial people. This act of extreme violence mirrors the deadly attacks at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina; Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in ChristChurch, New Zealand and Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA.

In times of tragedy, it is healing and hopeful to gather in communities that look like us and are us. However, to defeat White Christian Nationalism and White Supremacy going into our corners long term is not the answer. The future of our nation lies in a multi-racial, multi-faith democracy where voices especially those that have been disinherited, dispossessed, and disenfranchised can be heard, validated and affirmed. This scapegoating of African Americans, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, Indigenous and bi-racial people as well as immigrants, Muslims and Jews must end. We believe that we must rise with moral courage and act boldly for justice in the face of uncertainty, fear, and danger. It is the hard work of coming to a table of multiple others that allows us to build safe communities. We must cross lines of difference in race, gender, identity, and culture to build an America that works for us. It is too easy to let hate to dominate in this hour. Over the last few months in Pennsylvania, hate is what we have heard on radio, tv and social media in political ads. We must be the Architects of a New Pennsylvania and it will require all of us to work together (even when it gets messy) to demonstrate and create a new State.

I believe this is the hour for our work to rise above the fray to demonstrate what radical love for our siblings look likes and with determination, “Change the Damn World!”

It begins with us.

Our sister organization in Buffalo, VOICE Buffalo, is working with the families and communities on the ground. In an effort to help them we would like to raise funds to support them as they support their community. Could you help with a $5, $50 or $100 donation to support the team at VOICE. If needed within the next week POWER will also send a team to support VOICE on the ground in Buffalo.

Thank you for being a part of this community working to build something better for this nation and the world.