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Remembering Katherine Massey, 72, of Buffalo

Massey was honored Monday at Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Katherine Massey, known to many as Kat, is being remembered as a force of change in Buffalo and beyond, especially in the Fruit Belt neighborhood where she grew up.

Massey championed her Cherry Street Block Club and was a strong advocate for students of the Buffalo Public Schools.

Massey was one of 10 people killed in the mass shooting at the Tops grocery store on Jefferson Avenue on May 14. 

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Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown spoke at Massey's funeral. He says we should all draw from the energy she had to have a positive influence on the lives of others.

"Katherine Massey was a strong, proud, Black woman. She was proficient in her history and her culture and a lover of all people. Kat Massey was a constant presence in our community. She was a warm and welcoming spirit and had a beautiful and brilliant smile that could light up the atmosphere, cut through every conflict, and warm your heart," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

"This lady who lays before us was a lady who was a lover of her community," said Pastor Frank Bostic from Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church.

The community gathered at Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Buffalo on Monday to honor the legacy Massey leaves behind.

"She was a fierce advocate for her community, a lover of her people, an educator, an artist, and an activist," said Erie County Legislator April Baskin.

Massey single-handedly formed the Cherry Street Block Club when she wanted things to change in the Fruit Belt neighborhood. That was several decades ago, and through her many letters to the editor and her articles in the Buffalo Challenger, she was a strong advocate for Buffalo Public School students and those who might not have a lot.

Mayor Byron Brown remembered Massey as a constant community presence.

"Any meeting to improve and uplift the community, to make Cherry Street, to make the Fruit Belt, to make the East Side, to make Buffalo a better place, Kat Massey was there. She was called the Mayor of Cherry Street, but more than that, she was like a Governor. And more than that, she was a queen mother of this community," said Brown.

Massey retired from Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2011 after forty years and spent the years since dedicated to making Buffalo a better place for everyone.

"On behalf of Kat Massey, and all those precious lives we lost in this hateful attack, we will build better, we will build stronger, and we will show the world that there is no place for evil like this. There is no place for hate like this. We owe it to the life and legacy of Kat Massey. Kat, rest in power, rest in peace," said Brown.

Katherine Massey is remembered as a community activist and advocate. There is hope she will inspire others to continue her work. She was 72 years old. 

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