Even before Mayor Brown proclaimed that Buffalo would continue to be a “welcoming city”, neighborly signs began to pop up along streets on the West Side of the city (see lead image). After all, much of what can be attributed to the turn around of the West Side, came in the form of refugees repopulating the various neighborhoods.
As Mayor of Buffalo, I reiterate my commitment to refugees and immigrants across our City. The safety of our residents around the world and the security of our nation of immigrants are best established when our relationships are based on honesty, trust and collaboration. I am concerned for our residents who are impacted by suspension of the nation’s resettlement program, as I know that many across our city and region are patiently waiting for family members to join them from abroad; and I am concerned about the message that is being broadcast to all of those who contribute so much locally, including those that cross over the international border into our City every day. The President’s Orders will only result in hardship for refugees fleeing persecution and for the families who are already here, or who visit often and make our City a brighter place. I call on our federal government to reconsider the suspension for individuals already in the resettlement process who are awaiting admittance. I encourage us as a nation to renew our commitment to humanitarian aid across the globe, regardless of nationality, race, ethnicity or religion.
Just today, Eva Hassett, Executive Director of the International Institute of Buffalo, released a newsletter in which she said, “Buffalo is known worldwide as a welcoming and supportive place for refugees and immigrants. These new Buffalonians have tremendous positive impact on our community and our economy. Refugees and immigrants are the reason Erie County’s population grew in 2014, after decades of shrinking. Refugees and immigrants hold jobs, start businesses, pay taxes, buy houses, revitalize neighborhoods. Refugees and immigrants are CEOs, shop keepers and restaurateurs, teachers and doctors, engineers and scientists, friends and neighbors. They are critical to our economic recovery.”
And finally, Rory Allen from Zoom Copy sent along a vinyl graphic with a message (see below) that he says has led his company to be inundated with purchase orders. “This product is going viral nationally,” he stated. “We have sold hundreds of these all over the country in the last week.”
Buffalo has always been the City of Good Neighbors, where we respect each other, encourage each other, and help others when they need it most. We’re a city of fighters, who never gave up even when the chips were down. We never balked when the waves of recent refugees arrived. We respect each other’s rights, and stand up for our brothers and sisters. It’s a different time that we live in right now, but there is one thing to be sure – this city will continue to climb upwards, and we’re planning on taking everyone along for the ride.