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Immersion East Side





by Karima Amin

Just about a year ago, I became acquainted with Canisius College’s Immersion East Side Ignatian Seminar though meeting Dr. Devonya Havis, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Canisius. At the forefront of this immersion project, Dr. Havis and her colleagues “inspire and challenge students to experience solidarity with persons who have been marginalized by unjust institutions, economic conditions, and social and political structures.” In the past, these white, suburban students spent time exploring Buffalo’s East Side, through visiting churches, restaurants, performance venues, etc. and talking to community leaders to gain a better sense of the “rites, rituals, and celebrations” that have helped to shape the lives of a people who have been routinely marginalized and criminalized in Buffalo for decades.

I am a native Buffalonian. Since the 1950’s, I have watched my city rise and decline with my East Side community barely managing to thrive. At the next meeting of PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO, INC., I will talk about the organization’s beginnings and mission, successes and disappointments. One guest speaker will talk about the history of Buffalo in general and the history of Black Buffalo specifically. The other guest speaker will share her life story defined by poverty, troubled teen years, drug addiction, incarceration, release, successful reintegration, education, and leadership. This year, according to Dr. Havis, one area of focus will be criminal justice and its associated issues.

The Immersion students from Canisius will be in our circle on May 23. No doubt they will have pertinent questions about a part of the city that is completely foreign to them. You need to be a part of this conversation. Join us in the circle on Monday, May 23, 7:00 – 9:00pm, at the Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street in Buffalo.

“God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through.” (Anonymous)

Karima Amin is a longtime Buffalo Activist, Educator, and Storyteller as well as founder and director of Prisoners Are People Too (PRP2).

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