In Solidarity & Support:
GGWNY Mourns with Our Community

To our beloved community:

 

We join you in shock, sadness, outrage and anger over the mass shooting at the TOPS on Jefferson Avenue on Saturday, May 14th, 2022. 10 people's lives were taken by a white supremacist who came to the store to target, terrorize, and kill Black people.  We mourn for the victims and their families and recognize that this tragedy affects not only them, but Buffalo's Black community especially and our city as a whole. We know we have gardeners who were directly impacted by the violence at the store and we are holding everyone in our hearts right now. We wanted to take a moment to check in with our members and gardeners to see if you have any immediate needs for food, medicine or trauma counseling/grief support. If so, please do not hesitate to confidentially reach out to Jeanette for resources at 716-544-4659.  

 

Grassroots Gardens has worked in solidarity with block clubs, schools, faith leaders, and neighborhood associations in the Masten district and on the east side for many years. Today, half of our gardens are on Buffalo's east side and are led by Black neighborhood activists who have resisted living under food apartheid and the systemic racism that has shaped the fabric of Buffalo. Every season, they work to ensure community members have access to fresh food grown by their own hands. With TOPS' indefinite closure and the impact of trauma on the folks who previously relied on the store, more people will be in need. 

 

The Board of Directors and the staff recommit ourselves to our mission which includes healing systemic harm. We will center our work where it is most needed and ensure resources flow to those most impacted. We are regularly engaged in work on strengthening Buffalo-Niagara's food system and always welcome your ideas or time to get involved in building out a better future. 

 

If you are able to offer support through donation of time or financial resources, please consider supporting Buffalo's Black-led food justice organizations right now including:

 

African Heritage Food Cooperative which provides community agricultural shares and is working on bringing Buffalo's first Black co-op grocery store to the Fruit Belt.

 

Buffalo Go Green/Urban Fruits and Veggies which provides access to fresh produce through their urban farm, food prescription program and mobile markets.

 

Black Love Resists in the Rust which is collecting for long-term community mental health needs and food access.

 

Feed Buffalo which is a culturally-responsive food pantry and emergency food delivery system.

 

And of course, our partner Buffalo Freedom Gardens, for which GG is the fiscal agent. Donations will allow for more Freedom Gardens to be planted this summer. Their dedicated fundraising page is now live. 

 

Colored Girls Bike Too is also seeking volunteers for assistance with food deliveries and FeedMore WNY is accepting donations as well.

 

There are also upcoming seedling giveaways that the Massachusetts Avenue Project will be doing at the corner of East Utica and Fillmore on Wednesdays 10am-2pm.

 

Thoughts and prayers will never be enough to stop white supremacy and gun violence in the US. We will continue to work with our nonprofit partners and community leaders to dismantle white supremacy locally and to call on our political leaders to create stronger policies and laws that better protect those who are targeted because of the color of their skin, their religion or who they love.  

 

As a community of gardeners, I know we all find a semblance of peace when our hands are in the soil. Connect with the earth and let her hold your grief. Lean on each other for support and please do not hesitate to reach out if we can offer assistance. 

 

With gratitude for each of you,

 

Jeanette Koncikowski 
Executive Director, Grassroots Gardens WNY
Pronouns: she/her/hers

 

389 Broadway Street
Buffalo, New York 14204
Office: (716) 783-9653

Cell: (716) 544-4659

grassrootsgardensdirector@gmail.com