Oldest Buffalo Massacre victim Ruth Whitfield to be honored at funeral



CNN

The oldest victim of the Buffalo supermarket massacre will be buried on Saturday.

Family and friends of Ruth E. Whitfield, 86, held visitation and funeral services at a Buffalo church two weeks after police said a white supremacist killed Whitfield and nine others. Authorities say the shooter targeted the Tops Friendly Markets store because it was in a predominantly black neighborhood.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, met with Whitfield’s loved ones before the services, according to the White House, and she spoke at the funeral.

“I can’t even begin to express our collective pain as a nation for what you feel in such an extreme way – not just losing someone you love, but through an act of extreme violence and hatred,” said Harris to the mourners of Mt. Olive Tree Baptist Church.

Harris, who was invited to speak by the Reverend Al Sharpton, noted “a direct line” through mass shootings in Buffalo; Uvalde, Texas; Atlanta and Orlando, telling those gathered in Buffalo that today “is a time that requires all good people, all people who love God to stand up and say, ‘We will not tolerate this – enough is enough, we We will come together based on what we all know we have in common, and we will not let these hate-motivated people separate us or cause us to feel fear.

“I’m here to say we’re all in this together – no one should ever have to fight alone,” she said in closing. “We are stronger than those who would try to hurt us think we are – we are strong. We are strong in our faith. We are convinced of what is right and determined to act to ensure that we protect all those who deserve to be protected, that we see all that deserve to be seen, that we hear the voice of the people and that we rise in solidarity to denounce this and speak to our best angels.

Whitfield had just left a nursing home to visit her husband — a daily routine for eight years — when she stopped in Tops to pick up groceries, her son Garnell Whitfield told CNN’s Omar Jimenez.

Garnell Whitfield said he tried to call his mother after hearing about the shooting, but was unable to reach her. He drove past her house, then drove to Tops where he found her car in the parking lot. Whitfield would later learn that her mother was among the victims.

“Devastation, anger, hurt, disbelief, pain,” Whitfield said, describing her feelings that day. “She was the glue that held our family together.”

Whitfield said his family would not hesitate to call the suspect’s alleged motive.

“It’s white supremacy. It’s hate. It’s racism. It’s bigotry,” Whitfield said. of the pot and take it head-on because it proliferates. It’s not better. »

Whitfield is survived by her husband of 68 years, Garnell W. Whitfield Sr., her children and many grandchildren. His services come after the funerals of other victims which took place last week.

Among them were Celestine Chaney, Roberta Drury, Andre Mackniel, Katherine Massey, Margus Morrison and Heyward Patterson.

Chaney was buried on Tuesday and several family members spoke at her funeral. According to CNN affiliate WGRZ, Chaney, 65, had survived three aneurysms and breast cancer, which inspired people to wear pink in her honor.

“He was a very peaceful and gentle person and I think people should learn to be like that themselves,” Chaney’s granddaughter Kayla Jones said at the funeral.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited the area in the early days after the shooting, calling it an act of domestic terrorism and condemning the alleged shooter’s racist ideology.

Vice President Harris and her husband met with other families of victims of the mass shooting Saturday, as well as Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

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