by Pat Freeman
For a number of years the Black Chamber of Commerce has continued to fight for economic reciprocity in this region. Many of their demands were put into written agreements in the city, but it seems there is failure to enforce these essential accords for basic opportunity. The city of Buffalo charter calls for hiring minority goals of 25% of work force residency employment. Many of the work sites in the city have imported people of color, and still fall less than the 25% objective. Our elected officials continue to brag about the billions of dollars in construction but have not enforced the hiring of people of color during this so called city renaissance.
Recently Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen appropriately called out the Buffalo Bills for scheduling a tour of the Western New York with their recent draft choices, and free agent signings, but did not include any landmarks representative of people of color. This is not an accident and has rippling effects on the conduct of players who are just beginning their professional careers. For an example former 2014, 4th overall draft pick Sammy Watkins who is originally from Florida gives an annual youth football camp. The camp is located in the village of Hamburg more than twenty minutes outside of the city of Buffalo where the largest concentration of poor children resides in this area. My disappointment is in our elected leadership as a whole who continue to be silent on these very key issues of economic fairness in Western New York. The ignorance of the public opinion poll that disagreed with Pastor Pridgen shows you the mentality that still exists here in Western New York. Only 19% of the Channel 2 audience agreed with this story that aired about this gross neglect of all of Western New York. The theme One Buffalo truly does not include all us who live here, but only highlights that both of our major league sports franchises have one ownership group.
Rod Watson of the Buffalo News wrote an article titled “Bills leaving Black Media out in the cold in regards to advertising dollars spent with African- American Media outlets. Once again very few elected officials if any spoke out about this, another instant of gross neglect from an entity that receives close to $28 million dollars in tax subsidies from all its population. Mrs. Sheila Brown owner and CEO of Vision Multi Media Group has for years solicited the Buffalo Bills for their participation in commercial advertisement. I know for a fact they have never aired not one commercial at the only African-American owned radio station in Western New York. This is the leadership that you keep electing to office who are afraid to air the dirty laundry of many of the businesses in this region because they fund their campaigns. What Common Council President Darius Pridgen did should send a message to elected officials that they have power you have because of their office. That power must sway on the side of justice for all, and for those that do not have a voice. Too many times elected officials only tackle issues that are safe, and do not cross their donors. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said, ”In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Pat Freeman writes for the Buffalo Criterion. If you enjoy talking about the world of sports tune into the number#1 sports show in the nation every Saturday from 4:00-5:00PM hosted by WUFO Sports Director Patrick Freeman on 1080AM WUFO radio, radio app., Periscope, or via the internet at www.wufoam.com. Or catch Sports Update for clbTV (ch.20 Buffalo) and YouTube.