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Statement on recent NY and CA shootings

Dear TCNJ Community,

Our hearts are broken as we grieve for the 11 victims who lost their lives in the recent shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Laguna Woods, California. While law enforcement officials continue to investigate these horrific tragedies, it appears that both incidents were likely hate-based crimes.

Crimes such as these have become appallingly familiar in our nation. According to the FBI, approximately 62% of the 8,052 hate crime incidents reported in 2020 involved a bias toward race, ethnicity, or ancestry. The recent Buffalo and Laguna Woods shootings illustrate the brutal, devastating effects that racism and white supremacy have on our society.

The Buffalo massacre is personal for me (Kate Foster), as I lived there for 18 years. I know the territory and the good people, making my grief for the loved ones of the victims and the city itself especially acute. I recall well the efforts in the early 2000s to develop the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue, an urban oasis that eliminated the food desert on the city’s east side. Tops Friendly Markets has teamed up with the National Compassion Fund to create the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund, which will provide direct support to the families of the Buffalo shooting victims. Those wishing to support the cause can learn more via the Tops Friendly Markets website.

As for our TCNJ community and family, we ask that you continue to check in on and support one another as we work collectively toward eradicating hate in all its forms. We look forward to the significant and critical work ahead via “We Are TCNJ: A Strategy for Inclusive Excellence.” And we remind you that particularly in times like these, Counseling and Prevention Services is an excellent resource for students, and the Employee Assistance Program offers free counseling to faculty and staff.

We leave you with a firm reiteration of the fact that as a community, we stand in solidarity against racism of any kind and in support of those whom others would seek to marginalize.

Kathryn A. Foster
President

James A. Felton III
Vice President for Inclusive Excellence