Community Marches for Peace and anEnd to Black Homicide in The City of Buffalo

pictured above: Bishop Gelsey , and the family, friends and supporters of Rashonna Ray Ray Johnson who was ka victim of violence last month in Buffalo ny

Bishop Frederick Gelsey made it clear from the start that he had a lot of respect for the Black Lives Matter movement and its non-violent   protests against  police brutality and racially motivated violence against Black and Brown people.

However his focus, he explained, is to   create an anti-violence community atmosphere  and stop  Black homicides committed by Blacks against one another –  especially gun  violence among the  younger generation.

 After preaching the funeral of 23 year old  Rashonna  “Ray Ray” Johnson, the mother of three  who was killed   in a senseless act of violence last month  when gunmen fired into a crowd of  young people at an outdoor pop-up party,  Bishop Gelsey’s rallying cry became, “NO MORE OF THIS!”

No  stranger to the pain of losing a child to violence  (his son, was killed in 2012), he   knew he had to do more than merely  preach a sermon.

 “I’ ve marched with Black Lives Matter,” he said. “And I respect the movement, but I want to march to end Black homicides. When are we going to march for one another?”

Last Saturday afternoon upwards of 200 people of all ages joined the Bishop and supporting anti-violence organizations  for a  march and rally along Jefferson Avenue from   Best St. to   E. Utica.  

Scenes from the Black Homicide March in Buffalo led by Bishop Gelsey in light of recent killing of 23 year old Rashonna “Ray Ray” Johnson

Chanting “No more of this!” and “Homicide has got to go because we say so!” Saturday’s event  was a sign of a community’s willingness to   stand up and acknowledge  the  problem  of Black homicide. Accordimg to news reports, as  of last month, shootings in the city are up 81% this year compared to 2019. There have been 213 shootings, and 48 homicides, in Buffalo from January through the end of September.

Aside from illegal guns flooding   the inner city,” and a myriad of other socio-economic and culural issues Blacks have to deal with, the words in a lot of the  music youth litsen to today, said Bishop Gelsley,  is like  adding fuel to the  fire.

“We  have created this environment of homicides and murder in every inner city in America,” he continued.   “Death and life is in the power of the tongue.”  

Yet despite the grim realities, Bishop Gelsey assured that things are  not hopeless.

“When we say there’s nothing we can do about the murders that’s going on in our community, we are without hope. We can do something! “ he said. ’” No more of this!    We have hope that  we will see an end to this Black on Black homicide. We won’t be quiet anymore! After today  we’re standing for Ray Ray!”

He told marchers that we  have to “stop brainwashing  ourselves” and  help young kids to not fall into the same cycle of violence, death and dying…”We may not be able to stop the ones who are out there already, but can stop the ones  that are coming up behind them…we’ve got to have hope…we’re got to believe we can stop this…We’ve got to change our mindset…We can stop this ourselves.

Nobody else is going to do it . NO MORE OF THIS!!!

Going forward    organizers  say they will march  for every youth who is a victim of a   homicide, and continue to  bring attention to the reality of what is happening around us as we seek solutions and pray, for positive change.