WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to address violent extremism and threats after the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo killed 10 African American people.
“My mother’s life mattered,” Garnell Whitefield said.
A heartbroken Whitfield told Senators on Capitol Hill what it was like to lose his 86-year-old mother, during the mass shooting in Buffalo.
“She was a person who held us together probably just like your mothers did for your families,” Whitfield said.
The former Buffalo fire commissioner begged lawmakers to address domestic terrorism and stop extremist hate.
“You expect us to continue to just forgive and forget over and over again? And what are you doing,” Whitefield asked.
The shooting in Buffalo is one of several recent mass shootings. Whitfield says his family and community are hurting because of hateful rhetoric.
“But we’re more than hurt. We’re angry. We’re mad as hell,” Whitefield said.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says lawmakers must rid of domestic terrorism in the country.
“That is our responsibility to the families, like those in this room, who’ve lost a loved one to unspeakable acts of hate,” Durbin said.
But Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) says hate can come from anywhere
“We do not have to choose. We must combat all,” Grassley said.
After the hearing, members of the Buffalo community joined Whitfield in encouraging Congress to take action.
“Every tear I cry is fuel for action,” Buffalo resident Pamela Pritchett said.
“It’s not about Republicans, it’s not about Democrats. It’s about people,” Buffalo Resident Kimberly Salter said.
Whitfield says Americans need to hold lawmakers accountable to make a difference.
“Make them answer some tough questions,” Whitfield said.
A House Oversight Committee will meet Thursday to examine gun violence in the United States and that will include more members of the Buffalo community.