Harris at Buffalo funeral: ‘We will not be afraid to stand up for what is right’
Vice President Harris on Saturday made a surprise address at the funeral for a victim of the Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket shooting, saying such violent acts will not stop America from speaking out.
“I think we all know that a true measure of strength is not based on who you beat down. It’s based on who you lift up,” Harris said at the funeral for Ruth Whitfield.
“Who you lift up. And it means then also, in that strength, understanding we will not allow small people to create fear in our communities that we will not be afraid to stand up for what is right, to speak up even when it may be difficult to hear and speak.”
The funeral comes after the May 14 shooting at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, N.Y., that left 10 dead and three others injured. Authorities say the shooter purposely targeted an area with a large Black population and espoused racist rhetoric such as the “great replacement theory,” a conspiracy theory that asserts there is an intentional effort to replace white Americans with people of color by encouraging immigration.
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia called the shooting a “straight-up racially motivated hate crime.”
The White House said Harris “didn’t want to speak” at the funeral and just to attend, but that the Rev. Al Sharpton insisted she did.
“There’s a through line to what happened here in Texas, in Atlanta, in Orlando, what happened at the synagogues … and so this is a moment that requires all good people who are loving people to just say we will not stand for this,” Harris said. “Enough is enough.”
Several prominent political figures attended the funeral along with Sharpton and Harris, including Harris’s husband, Douglas Emhoff, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Sharpton delivered the eulogy at the service, focusing on the need for action after the shooting.
“We are in a national crisis and we can’t act like it’s not happening, it’s happening,” Sharpton said.
Democrats are pushing for stricter gun control legislation following the Buffalo attack and another mass shooting at a Texas elementary school this week, while Republicans have been resistant to such measures.