A century ago, Buffalo, the terminus of the Erie Canal and located 20 miles south of Niagara Falls, was one of the wealthiest cities in the US. Once the nation’s eighth-most-populous city, Buffalo has suffered from decades of deindustrialization. In the past decade, however, a Buffalo revival took hold. This webinar, which took place on March 20, 2020, just days after the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns in the US began, tells a story about community building and organizing to build a more democratic economy in Buffalo.
Sign up for our free newsletters
Subscribe to NPQ's newsletters to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.
To begin, this webinar features an interview of the Hon. April Baskin, Erie County Legislature Chair. Baskin, the youngest ever in that role, is a Nickel City native who has made supporting community development a cornerstone of her tenure in office.
Following the interview, NPQ’s Steve Dubb moderates a panel of three Buffalo leaders:
- Andrew Delmonte is director of cooperative development of People United for Sustainable Housing, better known as PUSH Buffalo, a membership-based nonprofit that advances economic, racial and environmental justice, where he manages PUSH’s “Cooperation Buffalo” worker co-op initiative.
- Bob Doyle is community development director of the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI), a nonprofit that operates a market that provides space for the area’s immigrant community business owners to nurture their food and retail businesses.
- India Walton is a cofounder and executive director of the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust, which provides permanently affordable housing in a neighborhood where the threat of displacement looms as a nearby university medical campus expands.
This webinar explores:
- How Buffalo-based community groups are having to pivot to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The range of economic “tools” available to build wealth in low-income communities and communities of color—including business incubation, social enterprise, and worker-co-ops.
- How to organize a community land trust to stave off displacement amid gentrification pressures.
- How to leverage community organizing and community-based economic development to achieve policy change.
- How community groups balance community organizing with the exigencies of community development.
- How long-term policy advocacy has changed the economic playing field in Buffalo.