This Shabbat leads to the first anniversary of the 5/14 Buffalo racist shooting at Tops supermarket where 10 Black individuals were killed, and three others injured. This week we spotlight Eunice A. Lewin, a SUNY Trustee, 5/14 Remembrance Weekend Committee Co-Chair and participant on the recent JCRC Civic Leadership Trip to Israel. The theme of the weekend is “Reflection, Healing & Hope.” Dr. Michael Edbauer, Segment President of Highmark Western and Northeastern New York, is also co-chair of the 5/14 Remembrance Weekend Committee.
“Public service is in my DNA,” is the answer Eunice gave on why she accepted Mayor Byron Brown’s request she be the Chair of a weekend of meaningful activities and commemorations. “I am committed to public service – it is who I am.”
The long list of events starts this morning at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center with a panel titled “Beyond Hate” with NYT bestselling author and professor and anti-racism activist, keynote Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. “Figuring out the best way to honor the victims and families with all the raw emotions is a very challenging role,” said Eunice. Her moral compass comes from the New Testament’s guiding phrase, “to whom much is given, much will be required.” I have also learned there is no one best way to do this,” she added. “We come at it from a spirit of love and compassion.”
Eunice reflected on the powerful effect the Israel experience had on her leadership 5/14 commemoration role. “The trip had a great impact on me. I saw people (Jews and Palestinians, and Arabs citizens of Israel) engaged in co-existence work. It taught me, that while it is not easy or there is not a quick solution, (addressing racism and systemic issues), one can have a lot of passion and work towards a solution.”
Eunice felt it was critical to have an ecumenical event as part of the commemoration weekend and has organized a 100-member interfaith clergy lunch after the opening panel event. Rabbis Alex Lazarus-Klein, Brent Gutmann and Adam Scheldt will be proudly and compassionately representing the Jewish community.
You can find out about a weekend of remembrance activities here: https://www.buffalony.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1231
May their memories always be for a blessing:
Roberta A. Drury
Margus D. Morrison