BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Mark Talley, the son of Geraldine Talley and Executive Director of the organization Agents for Advocacy, said he has not seen any major changes on the East Side in the year since the racist mass shooting at the Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue.
“We see a lot of organizations and companies trying to pull people together so we can overcome the hate that happened last year. Unfortunately, that was on a micro level,” he said. “On a macro level, I don’t still see what has changed since last year on the East Side. The East Side after 5/14 is the same East Side of Buffalo as it was prior to 5/14.”
Talley joined News 4 on Sunday morning to reflect on this past year.
“Unfortunately, this is the one-year anniversary. Even saying ‘anniversary’ kind of seems too strong to say regarding this weekend, but it’s the one-year anniversary of the Tops terrorist attack,” he said. “It’s kind of a numbing experience knowing this is the weekend your mother died, but this weekend, for everything that’s going on in the community on the micro level, it’s showing a lot of love that residents on the East Side have with each other.”
Talley said it shouldn’t have taken 10 deaths for people to recognize problems and insecurities on the East Side.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown responded to the lack of change on the East Side cited by Talley.
“A lot of resources have been put in place,” Mayor Brown said. “Now that we’re moving into the construction season, people will see that money beginning to flow. We want to make sure that when we think about East Buffalo and who was killed, who was directly affected, those were Black residents living in East Buffalo.”
Mayor Brown said the community will see “tremendous change” in the coming years and that the City has to be intentional in making sure the resources flowing to the East Side improve the lives of Black residents.
Talley spoke to the work his organization Agents for Advocacy has been doing in the community and what they have planned coming up. Talley said the group officially incorporated last July and has been a part of organizing over 30 events, including a community health and healing event on May 5 at Johnnie B. Wiley Stadium, for which they teamed with Back to Basics Ministries, Pastor James Giles, and the Western New York Peacemakers.
“Our next event will be coming up on June 3,” Talley said. “We’ll be working with Buffalo Community Fridge and it will be sponsored by Tops. We’ll be giving out bags of fruit, produce, along with breakfast materials. We’ll also be giving out dessert, such as red velvet cupcakes. My mother’s favorite color was red and I don’t know if I mentioned, but June 3 is her birthday.”
Talley said he thinks his mother would love what he’s doing and would be surprised that he has come to the forefront of the movement, rather than working behind the scenes.