‘We Stand With Buffalo Vigil For Peace, End of Hatred’ service held at Aenon Missionary Baptist Church
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Wednesday night local faith leaders, politicians, and everyday people came together to pray for the victims of Saturday’s mass shooting, and to denounce white supremacy.
More than 100 people attended the "We Stand With Buffalo Vigil For Peace, End of Hatred" service at the Aenon Missionary Baptist Church. All of them came with heavy hearts, but ready to take a stand.
"Even when people facilitate cruelty upon the innocent, God is still God," said one clergyman.
They came out to pray, and send their condolences to families in Buffalo that were affected by an alleged act of hate. Some knew the victims personally, others came to show their support. Most calling black houses of worship the backbone of our culture in times of tragedy.
"It’s the place of strength and comfort. So yeah of course we all come to the church," said Thomas Warfield.
Rochester’s faith-based community leaders said they are taking action.
"It’s always been our charge to lead. To fight for justice. To seek mercy. To be the truth. To be the light. Only the light is going to guide us out of these dark times," said Justin Morris.
Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello both said the power of prayer can’t be understated.
"Bringing people together we need to put positive vibes in the energy of our community in order to undermine the negative, racist stereotypes that many people have," Evans said.
Bello added, "I think today what you saw is an outpouring of love, and support, and prayer for the community in Buffalo that’s suffering right now."
Although the alleged gunman 18-year-old Payton Gendron specifically targeted the black community, organizers and attendees say his alleged actions affect us all. Brighton resident Karen Elam said it’s unfortunate that it’s this kind of event that brings us together.
"So many of us, the Jewish community, the black community, the Muslim community, the Asian community you go down the list. We’re all affected by this, by White supremacy, and there has to be a change made," Elam said.
Suspected shooter Payton Gendron pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. He’s scheduled to appear in court in Buffalo on Thursday.