A multitude of pro peace organizations have come together in Buffalo to form the Buffalo Solidarity Movement coalition. The primary focus behind the coalition is to work with city leaders to tackle the problematic issues of violence in communities, especially as it pertains to youth.
16 peace oriented groups came together at Niagara Square on September 2 in a united showing of strength. That amounted to a total of 60 community activists, who are hoping to work with law enforcement agencies, anti-violence organizations and community leaders to find ways to combat the issues of violence that continue to plague a number of communities. The group also intends to unite in order to protect vulnerable neighborhoods from gentrification and other housing issues. In essence, the group hopes to empower its members through strategic alliances.
“There are many groups here who are working as hard as they can to make the streets of Buffalo safer. Unfortunately for us, many of these groups are working in silos or on individual islands generated by territorial or geographical politics,” said Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant. The gathering at Niagara Square due to the tragic occurrence of an 8 year old child being shot while sitting in a car. The gathering quickly became a calling card for others to join the alliance, while setting out to organize additional strategic meetings and rallies.
Betty Jean also hopes to deputize former gang members and/or former felons who have managed to turn their lives around and who are currently actively working on peace issues for a pittance. These Special Police would be given salaries, which would motivate them and compensate them for the work that they are already doing to combat the violence in their own communities. “Peace among the men of our community is only going to be had by the involvement of the African American men of our community,” said Grant.
The second meeting of the Buffalo Solidarity Movement meeting will be held Wednesday, September 21st. @ the Frank E. Merriweather Library, 1324 Jefferson Ave., Buffalo. The meeting will begin promptly @ 5:30 PM. Please indicate your attendance by clicking the ‘going’ button on Facebook. This meeting is hosted by the We Are Women Warriors’ group. For more information, please call Betty Jean @ (716) 602-5877.
After this meeting takes place, planning sessions will be held to organize a massive Unity, Community and Voter Registration Day Rally in MLK around the end of September. The Rally will be co-sponsored by We are Women Warriors Group and families are invited to relax, celebrate a beautiful conclusion to the Summer’s festivals and mobilize voters for the upcoming November General Election. This event will be free and the general public is invited. For more information, please call Betty Jean Grant @ (716) 602-5877.