Dean's Statement to the School of Public Health and Health Professions Community

Published May 16, 2022


Dear SPHHP Community:

Saturday was a tragic event for the City of Buffalo and our entire community. Our hearts are heavy for all of those who lost their lives, were injured in this hateful act of violence or were there as this event unfolded. This horrific, violent act has affected many others directly or indirectly. 

We grieve for those who are family members and friends of the victims, who were people merely living their lives. They were mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, co-workers, friends and neighbors. Their loss has left an immense hole in the lives of many in our community, and we must never forget them. 

This was another of many acts of violence and trauma in our Black community. Such a hate crime and act of premeditated harm targeting Black people in our neighborhoods is horrifying and beyond outrageous.

We can all feel trauma and loss at this moment. There are many unanswered questions we all grapple with in trying to understand such a terrible event. For students in SPHHP, we encourage you to also reach out to your advisor or counselors if you want to talk about your feelings. Counseling Services is available to help students process and the Intercultural and Diversity Center is offering a safe space for students in need of support. Similarly, for faculty and staff, please contact someone if you feel the need. UB President Satish Tripathi’s message to our UB community also makes clear that help is available for anyone who requires it.

These past few years have been difficult in so many ways. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, but, now more than ever, we need to stand together. These acts of violence cannot continue. We are community. We need to support each other. Most importantly, we need to stand with and support those who were directly impacted by this tragedy. Our next step as a community must be to support in concrete ways. 

Right now, two food pantries are seeking donations of healthy, non-perishable foods for a community that is now without a grocery store:

  • First Fruits Food Pantry, c/o Lincoln Memorial UMC at 641 Masten Ave. Donations are accepted on Tuesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can also donate via Venmo @Lincoln-UMC
  • Buffalo Prep is collecting food for Buffalo Community Fridge. Donations can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 105 Allen Hall. You can also donate via Venmo @bflocommunityfridge

If you have already begun a support effort, please let us know how the SPHHP community can help. I will be back in touch with more information on what we will be doing.

Take good care.

Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD

Dean and SUNY Distinguished Professor