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Buffalo Co-Lab

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Buffalo Co-Lab advances an equitable economy and democratic community, collaboratively integrating scholarly and practical understanding to strengthen civic action.

Love for Black Buffalo

Neema Avashia’s quote

By Aima Ali

This is a screenshot from the Instagram account justseeds, a cooperative of radical artists, featuring a print with a quote from Neema Avashia’s book Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place. Her memoir discusses not feeling at home in the community she grew up in because of the homophobia and racism she faced. 

 

I found the quote relevant this week as I reflected on how Black Buffalonians have created strong and beloved community despite rejection and marginalization from the city as a whole.  Black Buffalonians have so much love and pride for Buffalo, despite living in segregated, polluted neighborhoods, and not receiving the same access across various spheres compared to whites. Whether this discrimination is through the limited grocery options in East Buffalo, or the disinvestment in housing and businesses in predominantly Black neighborhoods, it is undeniable that Black Buffalonians face unequal challenges. 

 

 The love for community and the belief that change is possible is inspiring. Dr. Taylor’s lecture this week, and his stress on the possibility of change despite the heartbreaking state of Black Buffalo reflects the commitment and love that the East-Side community has for their home, even though their city has failed them time and time again. 

 

I always develop intense loyalty toward every place that I  live. Throughout the summer I feel the same fierce loyalty within Buffalonians as they work to create change through nonprofit organizations, politics, art, and within the educational system. 

 

This love for place feels like a radical rebellion against the forces of white supremacy and colonialism that threaten to snuff out people power. I hope Black Buffalo and grassroots community organizers continue to persist; I hope this love of place is strong enough to overcome the continued racism and disinvestment. 

 

Neema Avashia’s quote