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Image of flowers and peace doves set on the ground in honor of those who lost their lives at the May 14, 2023 Tops shooting in Buffalo, NY.

Published May 9, 2023


Event to encourage healing on one-year anniversary of Tops shooting

How to bring about racial healing will be explored during an event on May 11 as the Buffalo community observes and reflects on the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the Tops Markets on Jefferson Avenue.

The event, “Racism, Racial Literacy and Mental Health: A Conversation with Dr. Howard Stevenson,” will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Active Learning Center, Room 1220, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Stevenson is the Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also a professor of Africana studies in the Human Development & Quantitative Methods Division of the Graduate School of Education. He is also executive director of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative, which is designed to promote racial literacy in education, health and community institutions.

A nationally sought expert on how to resolve racial stress and trauma that affect health at every stage of life, Stevenson will visit UB to discuss how systemic racism, racial trauma and racial stress contribute to racial health disparities, especially when it comes to mental health.

The event also will include discussion from a panel that includes Isaac Burt, associate professor, Graduate School of Education; Anyango Kamina, assistant dean for student development and academic enhancement, Jacobs School; Christopher St. Vil, assistant professor, School of Social Work; and Kinzer M. Pointer, pastor, Agape Fellowship Baptist Church.

A year after a white gunman killed 10 Black individuals at the grocery store, and wounded several others, survivors of the shooting, the victims’ families and the broader Buffalo community continue to recover and heal. Jacqueline Hollins, interim vice provost for inclusive excellence, and Suzanne Rosenblith, dean of the Graduate School of Education, met with members of the UB community to discuss how best to heal from and reflect on May 14 and decided that engaging the community in conversation would be most appropriate and thoughtful.

“A principal role of a public research institution is to advance knowledge and understanding. As we approach the one-year mark, it was important for us to organize a university-community talk that might help all of us better understand the links between systemic racism, racial trauma and mental health disparities,” said Rosenblith. “We are fortunate to have renowned scholar, Dr. Howard Stevenson, as well as a panel of UB and community experts, present for this special event.”

Hollins and Rosenblith credited LaGarrett King, associate professor of learning and instruction in the Graduate School of Education and director of the Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy, for planning the program.

Sponsors include the Graduate School of Education; the Office of Inclusive Excellence; the Jacobs School; the School of Social Work; the K-12 Center for Black History and Racial Literacy Education in the Graduate School of Education; and the Community Health Equity Research Institute.

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