Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Buffalo, New York
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I’m not going to say anything about Reverend Sharpton right now. (Laughter.)
Good afternoon, church.
AUDIENCE: Good afternoon.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: To the Whitfield family; the father of the Whitfield family, Mr. Whitfield. (Applause.)
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 for what you are feeling in such an extreme way — to not only lose someone that you love, but through an act of extreme violence and hate. And I do believe that our nation right now is experiencing an epidemic of hate.
And as we know and Scripture teaches us, when we talk about strength — the strength of personality, the strength of spirit, the strength of faith — I think we all know that a true measure of strength is not based on who you beat down, it’s based on who you lift up. (Applause.) Who you lift up.
And it means then also, in that strength, understanding we will not allow small people to create fear in our communities; that we will not be afraid to stand up for what is right, to speak truth even when it may be difficult to hear and speak.
There’s a through-line — what happened here in Buffalo, in Texas, in Atlanta, in Orlando; what happened at the synagogues.
And so this is a moment that requires all good people, all God-loving people to stand up and say we will not stand for this. Enough is enough. (Applause.) We will come together based on what we all know we have in common, and we will not let those people who are motivated by hate separate us or make us feel fear.
So I’m here to say that we are all in this together. No one should ever be made to fight alone. We are stronger than those who would try to hurt us think that we are. We are strong.
We are strong in our faith. We are strong in our belief about what is right and our determination to act, to ensure that we protect all those who deserve to be protected; that we see all those who deserve to be seen; that we hear the voices of the people; and that we rise up in solidarity to speak out against this and to speak to our better angels.
Thank you. (Applause.)