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Empowerment and Progress through Community and Financial Activism



by Marshaun L. Quinniey

Over the past year, songs and poems have been published by artist such as Beyonce, and Jay-Z to address abuse of power by some rotten apples in authoritative positions. These dishonorable authorities in our community have been documented shooting unarmed civilians, unfairly presiding over court cases, and using hatred and fear to rally support for their advancement. Upon reflecting on the expectations for the United States of America by Mrs. Michelle Obama, it is obvious that the dishonorable rotten apples who do not deserve to be named are not helping our country to advance; in the same manner cancer untreated destroys its host’s body. Despite this challenge, a dignified fight continues to achieve equality from the highest mountain tops to the lowest valleys of this great nation of the United States of America.

Several activities occurred that were proactive measures to fight the cancers that have plagued the community of Buffalo, NY in the form of poverty and violence. These events included the Black Business Matters, the 2nd Annual Cease Fire Peace Walk, and the film series: Red, Black, and Wealth, supplied evidence that a fight is underway to prevent the types of outcomes such as parents crying over the loss of a child due to a violent act or a family living in impoverished conditions despite both parents working full time minimum wage jobs.

The peace walk organized by Black Rose Films. The event had an open invitation to all of the community to begin walking from 1348 E. Delevan, Styles of Man Barber Shop, to Martin Luther King Park at 1pm. The event was organized to stand against the injustice and to command respect from community leaders. Also, the walk was concluded with remarks of the Mayor of Buffalo, Byron Brown, to stand with the community and to encourage peaceful mean for resolving problems in our community. Also, Mayor Brown encouraged continued efforts to employ cooperative economics that build the East Side of Buffalo and the surrounding region. A video recording of this event is accessible through the Griot News.

Another example of the progressive actions of the East Side community’s effort to turn the tide against poverty is the initiative of the Black Market Place to promote Black Business Matters. The event featured Black entrepreneurs, who sold jewelry, baked goods, and clothing in the East side community of Kensington and Bailey. This event happened July 23rd from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm and July 24th 11:00 am to 5:00 pm and according to the community leader, Ms. Patricia Elliott, the event has the potential to serve as a business incubator for the east side and stimulate the local economy of the surrounding community.

At the Frank E. Merriweather Library, a documentary film produced by Ric Mathis called Black Friday, was discussed with members of the Buffalo, NY community. The discussion centered on the challenges of gentrification in WNY and leaving an empowering legacy for the children of the community despite the existing economic disparity. During the event the host Mr. LaMarr Smith conveyed encouragement and tips for African Americans to leverage their dollars to support the African American community of businesses such as investing in a bank account at One United bank (oneunited.com) or WNY’s own the St. John’s Credit Union. Also, advice was given to attendees by Mrs. Sabriyah Smith and Alexander Wright to invest in good health as a cornerstone to wealth building.

Mrs. Smith relayed the importance of maintaining good spiritual, mental, and physical health in order to prevent turbulence in the journey through life due to expenses from health problems. Mr. Wright communicated information about his effort to create the African Heritage Food Co-Op (AHFC) in the East Side community. He communicated the current status of the AHFC idea is to serve as a food buying group that would distribute produce to members of the Buffalo, NY community. He is welcoming new members and individuals who are willing to help the success of the business venture. An email address for Mr. Wright is ahfcmembership@gmail.com

Although Buffalo, NY faces challenges, efforts are occurring to empower more African American community members and continue the progress. Many ancestors invested blood, sweat, and tears in order for current generations to live in a better society than the past generations. The activities that were orchestrated are a great example of the continued fight to realize equality by using the keys of peace, wisdom, and love for the community to set people free from the chains of poverty and violence. This fight is a great example of Dr. Martin Luther King statement,

“We refuse to believe there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”

Quinniey is an alumni of New Mexico State University (Master of Science in Industrial Engineering) and Xavier University of Louisiana (Bachelor of Science in Computer Science). Also MLQ is alumni of Amherst Central High School (New York Regents and General diploma), and City Honors Grade School.

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1 Comment on "Empowerment and Progress through Community and Financial Activism"

  1. Interesting points

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