On Saturday, mourners laid to rest the 10 Black victims of a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket. It was a memorial service that was a call for action and an emotional appeal to end the violence and hatred that have ravaged the country.
Ruth Whitfield, 86, was the oldest victim of the attack. The funeral included an impromptu speech from Vice President Kamala Harris. With Doug Emhoff, second gentleman, she attended the Mount Olive Baptist Church service in Buffalo.
Harris said to the mourners that this was a time for "all the good people" to speak out against the injustice at Tops Friendly Market, May 14, and at Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, Texas. Harris also spoke of other mass shootings.
"This moment requires all good people, God-loving people, to speak up and declare that they will not tolerate this. Harris said enough was enough. He wasn't supposed to speak but he came to the microphone at Rev. Al Sharpton. "We will unite based on the things we all share in common. We will not allow hate-motivated people to separate us or cause fear."
Harris and Emhoff paid respects to Emhoff at a nearby memorial after the funeral. After the funeral, Emhoff and Harris visited a memorial outside the supermarket. The pair stopped for a few minutes to pray. Jill Biden, first lady and President Joe Biden had previously placed flowers at the memorial on May 17, and visited the families of the victims. Biden will be visiting Texas this weekend to visit the families of victims of Tuesday's school shooting.
Harris later stated to reporters that the administration was not "waiting around" for the right solution to the nation's problem with gun violence.
She said that "we know what works on it", reiterating her support for background checks as well as a ban against assault weapons.
She said, "Let's have an attack weapons ban." An assault weapon is a weapon that can kill other people. It has no place or place in civil society. Background checks: Who should be allowed to purchase a weapon that can kill another human being without knowing at least: Hey, that person has committed a violent crime in the past, are they a threat to themselves or others?
Harris stated that the nation must also come together.
She stated, "We must agree that, if we want to be strong as nations, we must stand firm, identifying our differences as our unity."
A week of sad goodbyes has been experienced by the family and friends who lost loved ones in the Buffalo shooting. This includes a restaurant worker who bought his 3-year old a birthday cake at the market; a father who was a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan and worked as a school bus aide; as well as a sister of 32 who moved to Buffalo to care for her brother who is battling leukemia.
Whitfield, a grandmother, and mother of four was in the supermarket after visiting her husband, of 68 years, at a nursing home. When a gunman, identified as Payton Gendron (18), opened fire, Whitfield was inside.