Archbishop’s Commission on Racial Healing concert more poignant in wake of Buffalo shooting

In the wake of Saturday’s shooting in Buffalo, local leaders are calling for unity through music, in the hope of coming together.

"They say when you sing, you pray twice. We definitely want to continue our peace in the violence happening in the world," choir member Aury Bermudez said.

The Archbishop’s Commission on Racial Healing began in 2021. The inaugural concert comes the day after authorities say an 18-year-old shot and killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket in, what officials called a racially motivated attack.

"This was a powerful day, a hopeful day, even in the midst of the despair of Buffalo, yesterday," Archbishop Nelson Perez stated.

Music of hope, sung in English, Spanish and Nigerian Igbo was part of the event, which is the culmination of the last year’s work.

"I said to them, ‘Help me. Help me, as the Archbishop, to bring people together to dialogue.’ The idea came from them to do it through music and to bring people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Not to do their own pieces, but to learn to do each other’s music," Archbishop Perez explained.

"It was bone-chilling when it finally came together. Everyone singing everyone’s music. It was just beautiful," Philadelphia Catholic Gospel Mass Choir Director Tonya Taylor Dorsey said.

Voices rising up together to silence racism and spread a message of love.

"We need to heal our own wounds and to educate those who have inflicted those wounds, but also to know and honor the faith backgrounds and history of other people within the church that don’t look like us. A lot of our work has just been education and prayer with each other," Udochi Ekwerike, a member of the Archbishop’s commission, said.

For more information about the Archbishop’s Commission on Racial Healing, please contact Reverend Stephen D. Thorne by email at or by telephone at (215) 815-9337.