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Open Buffalo: What is It?

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by Karima Amin

For nearly two years, you have been hearing about “Open Buffalo” and you may still have questions about what it is and what it isn’t. So let’s begin at the beginning.

First, defining “Open Society Foundations,” we see it is described as “…a grantmaking network …aimed to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform.” Next, looking at “Open Society Initiatives,” we learn that there are several. Buffalo is involved with the “Open Places” initiative. Recently, Buffalo was selected, along with Puerto Rico and San Diego to be engaged in a pilot project that would emphasize the development of solidarity and empowerment in our respective communities.

Still don’t get it? Then come to the next monthly meeting of Prisoners Are People Too to learn how the “Open Buffalo” campaign is changing the landscape of our community, helping us to become stronger and better informed about the systems that impact our lives. “Open Buffalo” has provided opportunities for training members of our community in methods for resolving our own issues and problems. At a press event and celebration held on January 17, 2014, at the Frank E. Merriweather Library, it was announced that Buffalo had been selected to become an “Open Places Initiative” site. At that time, the Buffalo News announced that a collaborative proposal submitted to OSF by Partnership for the Public Good, PUSH-Buffalo, Coalition for Economic Justice and VOICE-Buffalo, was one of 3 proposals selected, from a field of 16, to receive funding for 10 years.

Learn how that funding has been used thus far to address the challenges of systemic racism, especially in light of the many ways that our criminal justice system and education system have negatively impacted Buffalo citizens. Members of the “Open Buffalo” staff will be present to give us a clear picture of the work that has been accomplished thus far and a description the work that has been proposed, moving forward.

Prisoners Are People Too, Inc. will meet on Monday (Today), March 30, from 7:00 to 9:00pm at the Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street, Buffalo, NY.

“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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