Recent events call for a moral response from organizations across America that serve and support their communities. It is in that service and support of our community that Explore Buffalo expresses its unequivocal belief that Black Lives Matter. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 was egregious and unjust, but it was not unusual. We grieve for him and so many other black citizens of this nation who have lost their lives because of the color of their skin, including here in our city. Our eyes are open, and we will not go back.
Through our school tour program, we spend time with thousands of local students each year. These children, as young as second grade, are enthusiastic and inquisitive as they join us for tours of our city’s neighborhoods and landmarks. Yet we know that many of these students we meet must live in a world which does not fully accept them and have no choice but to live with fear solely because of their race.
Explore Buffalo cannot fix this injustice on our own. But we can do more to stand with Buffalo’s African-American community by broadening our narratives of Buffalo history to be more inclusive. Their history is our history, and we vow that students who take a tour with us will increasingly be inspired by the stories of Buffalonians of all backgrounds. Furthermore, our public tour content will better reflect the great and integral contributions of people of color to the strength and vibrancy of Buffalo, both history and contemporary.
As storytellers of local history who are appreciative of our city’s architecture, we were saddened by the vandalism of beloved city neighborhoods and landmarks that occurred on May 30. Yet a far more powerful message was sent the following morning, when hundreds of community members came together not only with their brooms, shovels, and gloves to clean the broken glass and repair damaged gardens, but also with love and compassion for their communities. It is in keeping with this spirit of community that we as an organization intend to move forward.
Now is a time for us to act, and we must and will do more to use our resources to be a more inclusive organization, including identifying and lessening implicit bias in our content. We will provide our volunteers, members, and the public with opportunities to learn by amplifying the voices of and working in partnership with African-American community organizations. While Explore Buffalo is an organization based on talking, we recognize now is a time for us to talk less and listen more. Explore Buffalo will continue to stand as an ally with our local black community against racial injustice and voice our support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Learn more & get involved:
- African American Cultural Center
- Black Love Resists in the Rust
- Feed Buffalo
- Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor
- Nanette D. Massey
- National Federation of Just Communities of WNY
- PUSH Buffalo
- WNY Peace Center
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Black Lives Matter
- Campaign Zero
- Equal Justice Initiative Public Education