Posted by: Sarah Szurpicki | June 11, 2009

Our Opportunity

Yesterday a piece in Buffalo’s Art Voice shared the multiple reasons for our fast-approaching summit.  A central theme emerges: we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-shape the interaction between our cities, states, and the Federal government, if only we shout loud enough.  A snippet is below, and the full article is here.

Armstrong feels that Buffalo is in a unique position to embrace and promote change because of its shortcomings. “When you look at Buffalo statistics, we unfortunately show up on all those ‘worst of’ lists and our national reputation reflects that,” he says. “It’s only when you really get into the community and see vitality and excitement being generated that it becomes, ‘If it can happen in Buffalo, it can happen here.’ This is an opportunity to really spread the message of citizen initiative.”

The strengths of all these cities—and Buffalo in particular—and their greatest possibility for change lies with its grassroots organizations. Bartley feels Buffalo must stay in the loop when it comes to regional advocacy efforts, which is why connections to organizations in other cities is so important.

“We have some of the most dramatic problems we can showcase,” Magavern says. “We have them in a form that’s about as visible as you can get. But we also have some good things going on here like grassroots community redevelopment organizations doing block-by-block renewal on the West Side and working with inner city churches on the East Side. We have some good models to showcase.”

(Anthony Armstrong, a Program Officer at LISC Buffalo, Aaron Bartley, the Executive Director of PUSH Buffalo, and Sam Magavern, a lawyer who teaches at Buffalo Law School, are all members of the leadership at the Partnership for the Public Good, one of this Summit’s co-conveners.)

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