Rev. Al Sharpton led the service for the 86-year-old. Whitfield was inside the Tops Friendly Market after visiting her husband of 68 years in a nursing home when the suspected gunman began the racist onslaught.
Prior to the service, Harris visited the memorial site near the Tops Supermarket along with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. She stood at the memorial site on Jefferson Avenue for quite some time. She says she’s met with all the families.
The senseless killings from guns have to stop. Congress must take action and have the courage to ensure these attacks do not happen again. Expand background checks. Renew the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Get this done. pic.twitter.com/NVPKBcyOw2
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 28, 2022
During the funeral service for Whitfield, Harris said the nation is experiencing an “epidemic of hate.” “Being targeted, because of who they are, I think we all have to stand back and say, enough is enough,” Harris said.
“To the Whitfield family, the father of the Whitfield family, Mr. Whitfield. The pain that this family is feeling right now, and the nine other families here in Buffalo, I cannot even begin to express our collective pain as a nation, to not only lose someone you love but through an extreme act of violence and hate,” Harris said.
Harris got emotional when she was asked, “what’s next?” what can we do to stop horrific tragedies like the massacre in buffalo and most recently, Texas, where 19 kids and two teachers were shot to death inside an elementary school.
“I will say, as I’ve said countless times, we are not sitting around waiting to figure out what the solution is, we’re not looking for a vaccine, let’s have an assault weapons ban, you know what an assault weapon is? It was designed for a specific purpose, to kill a lot of human beings quickly. No place for that in a civil society,” Harris added.
Also in attendance at the service were New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncraz, U.S. Sen Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins and New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Whitfield’s is the last funeral to take place for those killed in the shooting. Over the previous week, Geraldine Talley, 62, Andre Mackniel, 53, Margus Morrison, 52, Aaron Salter, 55, Pearl Young, 77, Roberta Drury, 32, Katherine Massey, 72, Heyward Patterson, 67, and Celestine Chaney, 65 were laid to rest.