Vice President Kamala Harris is seen here walking back to her seat after talking to people at the funeral of Ruth Whitfield on May 28 in Buffalo, N.Y. Photo by Malik Rainey/UPI | License Photo
The son of one of the victims in a mass shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket called on U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday “to stop the cancer of White supremacy” that led to the massacre.
Garnell Whitfield’s mother, Ruth Whitfield, was among the 10 Black residents killed in the shooting at Tops Friendly Markets grocery store May 14. Authorities said the shooting was racially motivated, citing a racist manifesto posted online by the accused gunman, Payton Gendron.
Garnell Whitfield testified Tuesday before the Senate judiciary committee, calling on Congress to act against White supremacy. He was chosen to speak on behalf of the victims’ families at the Washington, D.C., hearing.
“I ask every one of you to imagine the faces of your mothers as you look at mine,” he said. “And ask yourself, ‘Is there nothing that we can do?’ Is there nothing that you personally are willing to do to stop the cancer of White supremacy and the domestic terrorism it inspires?
“Because if there is nothing, then respectfully, senators, you should yield your positions of authority and influence to others that are willing to lead on this issue. The urgency of the moment demands no less.”
Garnell Whitfield said the shooter didn’t act alone — he was radicalized by racists and the so-called “great replacement” theory, the idea that people of color and migrants are being pushed to vote in order to achieve a political agenda and eradicate the White race.
“His anger and hatred were metastasized like a cancer by people with big microphones in high places screaming that Black people were going to take away their jobs and opportunities,” Garnell Whitfield said.
“And yet nothing’s been done to mitigate it or eradicate it.”
At 86, Ruth Whitfield was the oldest victim in the Buffalo shooting. Vice President Kamala Harris attended her funeral May 28.
“I do believe that our nation right now is experiencing the epidemic of hate,” Harris said.
“There’s a through line to what happened here, in Texas, in Atlanta, in Orlando, what happened at the synagogues … and so this is a moment that requires all good people who are loving people to just say we will not stand for this.”
Lawmakers are also expected to hear from the families of the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.
One of the survivors, fourth-grader Miah Cerrillo will testify before the House oversight and reform committee on Wednesday, along with Felix Rubio and Kimberly Rubio, the parents of slain 10-year-old Lexi Rubio. Buffalo shooting survivor Zeneta Everhart will join the Uvalde victims.