5/14 Memorial Commission logo showing red, white and blue buffalo

SUNY Names Buffalo State Associate Provost Amitra Wall to May 14th Memorial Commission


State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor John B. King Jr. announced Friday that Buffalo State University Associate Provost Amitra A. Wall will serve as a fellow to the May 14th Memorial Commission.

Head shot of Amitra Wall

In this role, Wall will collaborate with the University at Buffalo Regional Institute on the community survey that will inform the commission’s creation of a living and lasting memorial in East Buffalo to honor the victims of the racially motivated mass shooting at Tops Market on May 14, 2022. 

Earlier this week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown announced that the commission will begin the public engagement campaign and will host the first public meeting on June 13, 2023, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Stanley Makowski Early Childhood Center.

As part of her commission fellowship, Wall, who is also a professor of sociology, will work with students to analyze the data from the community survey.

“It is an honor to be selected as a fellow to the May 14th Memorial Commission,” Wall said. “I thank Governor Hochul, Mayor Brown, and SUNY Chancellor King for their support as we embark to remember, honor, and never forget the lives of the 10 people who were taken away during the racist attack of May 14.”

The commission was established in October 2022 by Hochul and Brown in response to the mass shooting. The May 14th Memorial Commission consists of 11 community volunteer members and is chaired by Buffalo NAACP President Rev. Mark E. Blue.

“It is important for the people of East Buffalo to have a strong voice in the memorial, so that they are supported and connected throughout this work,” Blue said. “The memorial will serve as a lasting legacy of the lives we lost on May 14th and be a central point of strength for moving forward together as a community.”

“I commend Governor Hochul, Mayor Brown, and Reverend Blue for their thoughtful approach to dedicating a memorial for the East Buffalo community, by including the very public impacted by this tragedy,” said SUNY Chancellor John B. King Jr. “We hope the memorial will be a source of healing for the people of Buffalo and our state, but also serve as a symbol that we will continue to fight for equity and treat each other with respect and dignity. SUNY is proud to name Dr. Amitra Wall as a fellow to collaborate in producing the community survey. We thank her, Buffalo State University, and the University at Buffalo for supporting the May 14th Commission.”

Buffalo State President Katherine S. Conway-Turner said, “I couldn’t be prouder or more confident in the appointment of Amitra Wall to the May 14th Memorial Commission. Throughout her time at Buffalo State, Dr. Wall has provided unfaltering leadership both on campus and in the community. She deeply understands the importance of social justice and effecting change through a sociological lens. The commission will greatly benefit from Dr. Wall’s contributions.”

Wall joined the Buffalo State faculty in 2000 and coordinated the woman’s studies interdisciplinary minor program. A certified sociologist, Wall served as interim chair and assistant dean before being promoted to associate provost in 2017. In 2011, she received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Wall also serves as a member of the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology and the International Sociological Association and has served on the boards of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women, Women for Human Rights and Dignity, the City Mission, and most recently, the YMCA Buffalo Niagara Delaware Family Branch.

New York State and the City of Buffalo previously announced their intention to make specific financial commitments to the May 14th Commission project in the future, with the amount to be determined based on the scope and scale of the project recommended by the commission and in concert with state legislative partners.

Following the May 14, 2022, white supremacist terror attack, Hochul announced $50 million of targeted investments as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to address the immediate needs of the community. New York State will continue to coordinate with city, county, philanthropic, and business partners and grassroots leaders to address long-term needs in the community.

Those lost during the May 14 mass shooting were Celestine Chaney, Roberta A. Drury, Andre Mackniel, Katherine Massey, Margus D. Morrison, Heyward Patterson, Aaron Salter Jr., Geraldine Talley, Ruth Whitfield, and Pearl Young.

Media Contact:
Laurie Kaiser
Interim Media Relations Director
Marketing and Communications Office
Buffalo State University
Cleveland Hall 307
Office: (716) 878-3520
Cell: (716) 809-0583