Kat Massey was a visible figure in Buffalo, New York. A longtime civil rights advocate who was active in various local causes, she also contributed articles to the Criterion and the Challenger, two Black newspapers in the city, the latter of which was founded in 1963 to, in its own words, offer the African-American community “a real alternative to an otherwise negative and hostile White press.” Massey wrote for the Challenger about issues including education and drugs. She also wrote about gun policy. A year ago this month, she sent a letter to the Buffalo News (something she did frequently) decrying “gut-wrenching” gun violence in the city and urging federal action, including a clampdown that would stop out-of-state gun trafficking.
On Saturday, a white gunman clad in combat gear drove for several hours to a Tops supermarket in a predominantly Black Buffalo neighborhood and opened fire, killing ten people—all of them Black—and wounding three others. The victims included Roberta Drury, a thirty-two-year-old woman who had gone out to buy dinner supplies, and Aaron Salter Jr., a fifty-five-year-old retired local cop whose bravery had been hailed on several occasions by the News, and who had since taken a job as a security guard at Tops. Their number also included Massey.