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On Saturday, May 14, as they shopped in a Buffalo supermarket, 10 people of color were murdered and three more injured by an alleged perpetrator whose weapon had been decorated with a racial obscenity. This terrible act of violence was inflicted on the people of a single neighborhood, but the entire community was shaken to its core – including the Hillside employees who live and work near that location, and who shared close ties with many of those who were killed.

Hillside is a part of the communities we serve, and we share the shock, pain and anger of incomprehensible crimes like this one and the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

We’re responding to this close-to-home trauma as best we can. In Buffalo, our employees have reached out within the neighborhood to volunteer support—and as the community moves forward in its healing, we’ll remain an active source of help and comfort.

Within our agency, Hillside’s Men of Color and Women of Color affinity groups have come together to support our BIPOC employees. Our Regional Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committees are holding open discussions to let participants express their reactions to this incident and the toxic racism that spawned it. Throughout Hillside, we’re engaging in dialogues to ensure we’re doing all we can in this time of need.

We all can play a part in the healing and emotional rebuilding following this act. The National Association of School Psychologists has tips for parents and teachers on how to talk to children about violence. And the Buffalo Bills organization has developed a roster of Buffalo-specific community resources that can benefit from engagement by all of us.

I know racism, hate and senseless violence can’t be overcome overnight, but it falls to each of us to make a difference. Please join us in this effort that will ensure a stronger future for everyone.

Maria CristalliThank you,

Maria Cristalli
President and CEO
Hillside

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