ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Rising, an organization for racial justice, hosted a vigil at Lake Eola Park Thursday in memory of the Buffalo mass-shooting victims.
Shakhea Hinton is one of the organization members and said this impacts Black communities around the nation.
“It was heartbreaking. I mean, I feel like I’m getting emotional now because I see my family members in those victims,” Hinton said.
Saturday, ten people were killed and three wounded when a man opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo.
Police said the shooter, who is now in custody, has been charged with murder, and officials are calling this a hate crime.
86-year-old Ruth Whitfield was one of the victims.
Cher Desi said Whitfield was her biological aunt, but she called her mom.
Desi described Whitfield as a bright light in darkness who opened her home and heart to everyone.
She said what breaks her heart the most is how Whitfield’s life was taken.
“The fact that she lived her life spreading love, and she was taken out by a hateful act of violence,” Desi said.
Dozens of people showed their support to Whitfield’s family, including state lawmakers like Rep. Anna Eskamani.
“We should not have to do this. It is so painful to have to come back and continue to host vigils to share memories when we should be creating new memories with our loved ones,” Rep. Eskamani said.
Florida Rising member Sophia Glover assured Whitfield’s family and others devastated by loss the community will stand with them.
“…We will fight for justice alongside of them,” Glover said.