Garnell Whitfield Jr., son of Ruth Whitfield, who was among the ten Black victims of the mass shooting in Buffalo a couple of weeks ago, gave passionate testimony at a Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing concerning domestic extremism, according to ABC News. Whitfield called on Congressional leaders to “yield their positions” if they were unwilling to “the urgency of the moment.”
The hearing was named “Examining the ‘Metastasizing’ Domestic Terrorism Threat After the Buffalo Attack.” It examined “the continued threat posed by violent white supremacists and other extremists, including those who have embraced the so-called ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory, as well as the federal government’s response to this threat, as a release noted. Even though white supremacy is considered a growing threat, Whitfield noted that “nothing has been done to mitigate it or eradicate it.”
“I ask every one of you to imagine the faces of your mothers as you look at mine, and ask yourself, ‘Is there nothing that we can do?’ Is there nothing that you personally are willing to do to stop the cancer of white supremacy and the domestic terrorism that inspires?” he continued, maintaining his composure but holding back tears. “Because if there is nothing, then respectfully senators, you should yield your positions of authority and influence the others that are willing to lead on this issue. The urgency of the moment demands, no less.”
A bipartisan group of senators are currently discussing ways to come together to pass gun control legislation. However, an assault weapons ban and comprehensive background checks will not be a part of any deal. Whitfield’s hurt and frustration speak to what many Black people feel across the country. When these tragedies happen, we are expected to shoulder the burden knowing most likely that they will happen again and the threats of white extremist terrorism will go unaddressed by lawmakers.
“You expect us to continue to just forgive and forget over and over again. And what are you doing?” asked Garnell Whitfield Jr., “You’re elected to protect us, to protect our way of life. I ask every one of you to imagine the faces of your mothers as you look at mine and ask yourself, is there nothing that we can do?”