Rev. Al Sharpton is urging President Joe Biden to hold a national summit on hate crimes after a gunman went on a shooting rampage Saturday in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people and injuring three others, in what authorities said was a “racially motivated hate crime.”
Appearing on Meet the Press Sunday morning, Sharpton was asked how to change the tone amid a “toxic stew” of deepening hate, easy access to guns, and the spreading of far-right ideology online.
“We start by changing the tone nationally,” Sharpton told moderator Chuck Todd. “President Biden needs to call a national summit meeting of Black, Jewish, Asian leaders and sit down and talk about the growing problem of hate crimes, and that this government will not stand by and allow this to happen.”
TODAY: After a racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, @TheRevAl asks Biden to hold a summit of Black, Jewish & Asian leaders.
"We've gone from Tree of Life [in Pittsburgh], from Charleston, to now we're in Buffalo & we're just putting out regular press releases." pic.twitter.com/J32H6olB8o
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 15, 2022
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Authorities said the gunman, who is white, shot 11 Black and two white victims at a Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly African American neighborhood and streamed the violence live on Twitch. The suspect was quickly identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York (about 200 miles away).
NBC News reports Gendron is believed to have posted a racist manifesto online earlier this month, citing “the great replacement,” a conspiracy theory pushed by white supremacists claiming white people are purposely being replaced by people of color.
Sharpton said the Biden administration must send a message to hate groups.
“We need to have a tone where young guys like this understand the federal government will come down on them. Their monitoring was going on and they’re not going to tolerate it. [Biden] should do this right away,” Sharpton said.
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The civil rights activist then reminded the MTP panel of the racially motivated Charleston, South Carolina church shooting (2015) and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting (2018).
“We’ve gone from Tree of Life, from Charleston, now we’re in Buffalo and we’re just putting out regular press releases rather than dealing with this, with the urgency that it requires,” he said. “I reached out to ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt and others and said, ‘We ought to jointly go to the White House and deal with this.’ It’s not just Blacks. It is Jews. It is Asians. It is LGBTQ. It’s hate everywhere.”
Chuck Todd also brought up the 2019 mass shooting targeting Latino shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
Sharpton responded by saying, “Latinos, really Latinos. It’s hate everywhere. The president needs to preside and say ‘this can’t be tolerated.'”
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