Over the past several days we have grieved the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and watched as protesters marched in cities across the country- including here in Buffalo.
The protesters – a diverse and largely peaceful group – are seeking justice and change, and we are moved by their passion and commitment. While we are saddened by the violence that took place at the end of the protest in the neighborhoods where we work, the message of the protesters reminds us that the first rule of building a welcoming community is this: it has to welcome and value all who comprise it.
It is important to recognize that as an organization dedicated to supporting refugees and immigrants we have a direct responsibility to stand up to racism, to actively educate ourselves and our families, and to take the opportunity, whenever possible, to make our own neighborhoods more welcoming to everyone. Refugees and many immigrants have faced discrimination, oppression, and violence. Our support of these communities requires us to also denounce the attitudes and systems that discriminate and treat people unequally.
Our team has been hard at work listening to and amplifying the voices of black activists and sharing opportunities for meaningful allyship across our social media channels. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for concrete ways to support anti-racism work in our community.
We must hold on to the hope that the persistent demonstrations and collective calls for justice will lead to landmark change in the United States.
We all have to work harder and more intentionally to openly acknowledge and combat racism and inequality.
We know that Buffalo, the City of Good neighbors, is a special place. How often do we see love and concern expressed for those in need among us? We know the compassion that exists here in our neighborhoods and we hope that same love and compassion can extend to the rights and happiness of all who live here.
Together we can and must do better.