This morning, Villa Maria College alum and Trustee Zeneta Everhart, testified before the United States House of Representatives about the terrorist attack at Tops on May 14. Everhart, whose son Zaire was the first person shot in the attack, is a 2008 graduate of the College.
One of her points of emphasis will be education, particularly the importance of an inclusive education that honestly and accurately teaches the history of race in our country. Her testimony began at 10:00 a.m.
You can also watch a recent News 4 interview with Ms. Everhart about her upcoming testimony here: https://www.wivb.com/news/buffalo-supermarket-mass-shooting-tops/before-testifying-in-washington-zeneta-everhart-plans-to-deliver-message-on-gun-reform-and-education/
“As an educational institution with the highest percentage of African American students among Western New York private colleges and with deep ties to the East Side of Buffalo, Villa has a major responsibility to help lead our community forward,” wrote Dr. Giordano, College president, in an email to the Villa community. “I shared this same sentiment the day after the tragedy and I believe it even more now. I also promised that we would put actions behind our words, so I want you to be aware of what we have been doing so far:”
- Many of our faculty and staff members have contributed to Ms. Everhart’s and Zaire’s Amazon wish list, which can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2QT7QPH0XGSS6 ;
- Several faculty and staff members have volunteered at the Johnnie B. Wiley Center as part of the response effort;
- We collected food and other goods that we donated to the Stanley Makowski Early Childhood Center, PS# 99, to distribute to families;
- Building off of the suggestion of one of our students, we are collecting food and other items at our annual golf outing on June 13;
- We are providing faculty and staff members online access to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Diversity and Inclusion Symposium on June 16 (details about access forthcoming): https://www.thepartnership.org/initiatives/diversity-inclusion/di-symposium/
- We will have a strong presence at Juneteenth festivities next weekend. We had already committed to Juneteenth prior to the Tops tragedy and are even more adamant about being present now;
- We continue to provide counseling to members of our Villa family who need it.
“Behind the scenes, I have been coordinating with local leaders to provide support,” continued Dr. Giordano. “A few months ago, I joined the Board of Directors of Most Valuable Parents (MVP), a grassroots organization committed to reducing gun violence and to improving the quality of life for Buffalo residents, particularly on the East Side (https://www.joinmvp.org/). With dozens of on-the-ground volunteers, MVP has been extremely active in the community response to May 14. I have been working closely with the MVP Director to secure funding, pilot programming, and maximize its impact. I have also been communicating with Thomas Beauford, CEO of the Buffalo Urban League, about how Villa can assist the Urban League in its work. Last fall, we submitted a grant application in partnership with the Urban League and I am pleased to share that we recently learned it was approved. All of this is on top of the great work we have long been doing with Say Yes Buffalo, the Delevan-Grider Community Center, the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology, St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, Gerard Place, and many other organizations on the East Side.
“I will be sharing more news about our efforts in the coming weeks,” concluded the email. “We are in this for the long haul. We must combat disinformation by insisting on the importance of education. We must combat violence by insisting on peace. We must combat apathy by insisting on justice. We must combat racism by insisting on equity.”