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Long Island spiritual leaders address frustration and hopelessness caused by Buffalo mass shooting

Long Island leaders pray for peace in wake of Buffalo shooting
Long Island leaders pray for peace in wake of Buffalo shooting 02:14

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- In the wake of the mass shooting in Buffalo, officials and religious leaders gathered on Long Island on Tuesday to pray for peace and comfort.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, leaders addressed some of the strong feelings about the attack that range from frustration to hopelessness.

"Sometimes it just seems as if we run out of answers," said Pastor Carlton Chambers of the Church of God of Prophecy.

There were prayers for Buffalo, for peace and for equality in Hempstead, where the hatred was answered with unity.

"Help us to be rid of hate," said Rabbi Art Vernon of Congregation Shaaray Shalom of West Hempstead.

READ MORENew Yorkers from many different backgrounds come together in Harlem to mourn victims of Buffalo mass shooting

Yet spiritual leaders acknowledged the barrage of violence can evoke feelings of hopelessness, and prayer is not enough. Focus, they suggest, on the good that brings us together.

"We get overwhelmed with things that are happening and forget there are people that still love. There are people that believe in diversity. There are people that still care for one another," Village of Hempstead Mayor Waylyn Hobbs said.

"Love always conquers hate. This is something our nation has dealt with and wrestled with for many years, but we always seem to overcome and we always seem to rise," added Dr. Sedgwick Easley, pastor of Union Baptist Church of Hempstead.

Leaders called for action on mental health and the easy access to guns.

"We're also looking at responsibility, the responsibilities of social media companies in spreading hate and their algorithms that allow for this kind of hate to spread," said state Sen. Kevin Thomas, who represents Garden City.

And they added there are small steps we can all take, such as keeping tabs on what social media our children are consuming.

"'How was your day? What's going on?' We don't do that anymore," said Apostle Phyllis Young of Hempstead's Miracle Christian Center.

And, they added, when sadness and rage overwhelm, take a social media break.

"Having a good cry, it releases all those stress hormones, those toxins," said Kathy Rivera of the North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center.

She suggested to do something positive.

"Don't just be passive. Find out how you can help, ways you can help, whether it be with your elected officials, your local congregations, asking others, nonprofits like us, what can we do to help and heal?" Rivera said.

And just as important, spiritual leaders say to have a conversation about escalating racism that appears to have so quickly poisoned an 18-year-old in the Buffalo attack.

"If not we are going to continue to spin the wheel and we will be here again," Easley said.

And, they added, always be vigilant, If you're aware of a threat of violence, if you see something, say something.  


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