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Buffalo kids face the reality of racist hate

Hello. It’s Monday. We’ll see how Buffalo students and parents deal with the supermarket massacre. And, with the June 28 primary for governor just over a month away, we’ll see what the candidates get for the $20 million they spend on campaign ads.

“Who would go that far to kill people? Ruyvette Townsend heard one of her students ask early last week. “‘Didn’t anyone see it coming?'”

Townsend is a teacher at a high school about two and a half miles from the Buffalo supermarket where a racist shooting left 10 people dead. The student who asked these questions knew that the attacker was from a small town 200 miles away. Some students knew the store – they had gone there to do their shopping. A student was there when the bodies were recovered. Others knew some of the victims.

Dr Tonja Williams, the acting Superintendent of Schools, did the same. “It’s a difficult time for all of us,” she said, adding that she was making schools safer and building mental health support for students. “What we know is that in our city, our schools are a haven of peace.”

But my colleague Lola Fadulu writes that parents and students are no longer so sure. Some wonder how a school system that has long neglected its black children can help them now as they face the enormous tragedy of the supermarket massacre – a tragedy that touches on a variety of issues, including racism and false narrative underlying the replacement theory, as well as the widespread availability of guns and what the government can or should do to make guns less accessible.

Buffalo public schools are racially diverse but segregated — many black students attend schools in areas with high poverty rates that tend to underachieve. These schools often have less experienced teachers and offer less demanding courses.

“The district is not designed for African American children to succeed,” said Coleen Dove, a retired principal who worked in Buffalo’s school system for 30 years.

In a community already marked by segregation and poverty, some students are simply scared. Simier Sweet, who is 13 and attends a charter school, said he was nervous about walking to the bus stop alone.

“It could happen on the bus, anywhere,” he said.

It was not an unwarranted concern. According to the suspect’s Discord chat logs, he had considered going to a school and mentioned a particular Buffalo elementary school. Officials said last week they would increase police presence in Buffalo schools due to social media threats.

“It’s going to be a long time before any of us really feel safe,” said school superintendent Dr. Williams. “When something so heinous happens there, you wonder: Am I safe anywhere?”

Myah Durham, who is 14, said counseling at her charter school “didn’t work for me”. She said the takeaways were: “‘It’ll be fine, nothing’s ever happened to Buffalo, just pray and keep your eyes open when you walk, no headphones in your ears, be aware of your surroundings .'”

Myah said she had seen white people differently since the shooting, not knowing who was racist and who she could trust. She also said she had trouble concentrating.

Her mother, LeCandice Durham, told Myah to keep her head up. “We’re going to change the narrative, that’s the plan,” said LeCandice Durham. “I don’t want Buffalo to be known as the location of the mass shooting.”

She also said she believes Buffalo will continue to be known as “the city of good neighbors.”

Was Myah that optimistic?

“I don’t have an answer,” she said with a shrug.


Expect a partly sunny day, with temperatures in the low to mid-70s. The evening will be mostly cloudy, with temperatures in the low 50s.


In effect until Thursday (Solemnity of the Ascension).

A 48-year-old man was shot dead on a subway crossing the Manhattan Bridge when another passenger opened fire in what police said was an unprovoked attack on Sunday. Kenneth Corey, the head of the department, said the shooter was going back and forth in the last carriage of the train. Citing witness accounts, he said the man “draw a gun and shot the victim at point-blank range”.

The assailant fled at street level and was not caught, police said. The victim was identified Sunday night as Daniel Enriquez of Brooklyn.

Mayor Eric Adams swore the shooter would be arrested. He also said his administration was looking at other ways to boost police presence in subways.

So much attention has been focused on the redistricting of Congress that you might forget that the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries are just over a month away. Unless you watch TV.

Only four gubernatorial candidates run political ads: Governor Kathy Hochul and Rep. Thomas Suozzi, both Democrats, and Rep. Lee Zeldin and Harry Wilson on the Republican side. Other candidates — including Jumaane Williams, a left-leaning Democrat who serves as New York City’s public advocate, and Andrew Giuliani, a pro-Trump conservative — have yet to buy ad time.

There has also been significant spending on ads about a familiar non-candidate, who for now is not running – former Governor Andrew Cuomo, who spent $2.8 million from the campaign fund with which he left office, according to AdImpact. Its ads aim to boost Cuomo’s image after he resigned last year amid sexual harassment allegations.

Hochul’s first television ad shows the governor late at night at her desk. The voiceover says she has worked tirelessly since becoming governor following Cuomo’s resignation last summer.

According to my colleagues Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Grace Ashford, what the 30-second spot doesn’t show is how Hochul also worked tirelessly to raise campaign funds. By January, she had raised a record $21.6 million. She’s spent more than $6.8 million on ad buys so far, according to AdImpact. Unsurprisingly, spending was concentrated in the New York market, the most expensive in the country.

Hochul released a second television ad last week focusing on its commitment to protecting abortion rights in New York City. His agents hope to use the issue against Republicans if, as a leaked draft opinion suggests, the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion.

Suozzi, a center Democrat from Long Island, had about $5.4 million on hand earlier in the year and poured just over $3.9 million into television ads focusing on crime and taxes.

Zeldin, who had about as much money as Suozzi and spent about as much on TV ads, only invested $1.5 million in ads in the New York area. Most of its ads air outside the downstate region, targeting conservative voters. The message is that New York is in trouble because of Democratic control in Albany. Zeldin’s latest commercial focuses on the arrest of former Hochul Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin on federal bribery charges.


Dear Diary:

There’s a popular restaurant on the Upper West Side that’s the only place nearby to get barbecued ribs. I went there one evening to take some.


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