WBFO Racial Equity Project

The Racial Equity Project is funded by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate Jumaane Williams used this weekend to do some campaigning in Western New York. The Brooklyn Councilmember is challenging current incumbent Kathy Hochul, saying he will be an independent advocate for all New Yorkers.

Thomas O'Neil-White

On Buffalo’s East Side, a new job training center is taking shape. Officials and residents hope it will address the community's high unemployment rate, while boosting development in that area – and across the city.

City of Buffalo

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says the city has lost a true pioneer. The Hon. Barbara Merriweather Sims has died.

Dorothy Cotton, a leader in the civil rights movement who educated thousands of African-Americans about their rights and the power of organizing, has died at 88.

She died at a retirement community in Ithaca, N.Y., the Ithaca Journal reports. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference confirmed her death to the Associated Press.

In the 1960s, just about all of the beaches on Long Island Sound in Connecticut were off-limits to people of color. Then Ned Coll came along.

In his book, "Free the Beaches: The Story of Ned Coll and the Battle for America’s Most Exclusive Shoreline," historian Andrew Kahrl describes Coll’s creative protests to smash the color bar and open the beaches to all children wanting to cool off on hot days.

This week, ABC cancelled Roseanne Barr’s TV show because of a racially charged tweet. It’s the latest in a string of troubling racial incidents – like the white woman who called the police on a black family barbecuing. But these are everyday realities faced by folks living in brown, black, tan, or just “not” white skin. Experts call this a troubling undercurrent of racism.


Starbucks closed more than 8,000 stores on Tuesday to give workers anti-bias training. The nationwide closing follows the recent arrests of two African-American men who asked to use the restroom in a Philadelphia Starbucks last month.

As part of that training, Starbucks commissioned "Story of Access," a short video from filmmaker Stanley Nelson. It highlights the bloody, civil rights battle for equal rights to lunch counters, restaurants and other public accommodations. Here it is:

National Public Radio

If you're looking for a cup of coffee to help keep you going after a long holiday weekend, you can forget about going to Starbucks. More than 8,000 company-owned stores are closing Tuesday for anti-bias training. It follows the recent arrests of two African-American men who asked to use the restroom in a Philadelphia Starbucks last month. But will the training work?


Seneca Street Community Development Corporation

The Executive Director of the Seneca Street Community Development Corporation says Buffalo's Seneca-Babock neighborhood is an "isolated pocket of generational poverty with very few resources." With $10,000 in grant funding, the CDC is expanding into health care to help fix that.

Chris Caya WBFO News

Buffalo's renaissance may attract new companies and jobs to the area. But employers will likely have a hard time finding local residents to fill those jobs. A new report shows city schools are failing to provide students with some key courses.

Issues surrounding housing inequities in Buffalo were brought to light during a panel discussion at the WNED|WBFO Studios Wednesday night, as part of WBFO's Racial Equity Project.

"Housing in Black & White," broadcast on Facebook Live Wednesday night, brought together experts to discuss red-lining in Buffalo, affordability and other important issues.

They called for making the city's housing more livable, reforming housing court and addressing the serious health problems that result from lead paint, dust and cockroaches.

Shanté White / University at Buffalo

A class of new doctors will receive their medical degrees today as they graduate from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. WBFO’s Avery Schneider spoke with one of them about her inspirational story.


Buffalo NAACP

A leading civil rights leader in Buffalo has died. Frank Mesiah, the longtime president of the Buffalo chapter of the NAACP, died Friday night at Buffalo General Medical Center. He was 89.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

Some of the largest disparities in health in Erie County are happening in the City of Buffalo. A public conference this weekend aims to start trying to fix them.


Editor's note: This report contains language and an image some may find offensive or upsetting.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice stands high on a hillside overlooking downtown Montgomery, Ala. Beyond the buildings you can see the winding Alabama River and hear the distant whistle of a train — the nexus that made the city a hub for the domestic slave trade.

WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

The lack of teacher diversity in Buffalo and Erie County will be presented Thursday evening in a town hall forum.  The Education Trust - New York is hosting the event along with WNED/WBFO and the Center for Urban Education at Canisius College.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says having a teacher of color could be make a big difference for a  student’s education experience. 

Housing segregation is in everything. But to understand the root of this issue, you have to look at the government-backed policies that created the housing disparities we see today.

Gene Demby explains how these policies came to be, and what effect they've had on schools, health, family wealth and policing.

YouTube / Martin Luther King Jr. at Kleinhans Music Hall, Nov. 1967

Just five months before Martin Luther King was assassinated, he visited Buffalo. It was a tense time for race relations, here and across America, but King’s words resonate today.


WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Fifty years after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the nation is divided. But as WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley tells us, a local church is hoping that by looking back that we can move forward.  

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

In his lifetime, journalist and author Roland Martin says African Americans have made a lot of progress, but there remains a long way to go. Martin spoke at Canisius College Tuesday at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Afro-American society.

This week, hundreds of African-American women will meet in Atlanta for Power Rising, a conference to talk about ways to make their voices better heard in politics, economics and other areas.

Black women own about 1.5 million businesses in the country, according to the latest U.S. Census figures, generating more than $42 billion in sales in 2012. Conference organizers say they want black women to find ways to make the most of their political and economic power.

by ANGELICA A. MORRISON

The STEM field is historically an area were African Americans and minorities have been under-represented.

But several have broken through the barriers like...  astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.  And nuclear scientist J. Ernest Wilkins Jr., -- he attended the University of Chicago at the age of 13. And now, many local African American STEM professionals are encouraging others to carry the torch.


courtesy African-American Veterans Monument WNY

Construction of a new monument paying tribute to African-American veterans is expected to begin this spring, boosted by the recent awarding of a $600,000 state grant.


Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Civil rights pioneer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that America's most segregated hour was 11 o'clock on a Sunday morning, for Christian church services. A local and nationwide effort is trying to bridge that racial gap.

ANGELICA A. MORRISON

At a pediatric clinic located in one of the poorest sections of Buffalo, 7-year-old asthmatic Victor Small sits with his mother Laticka. The hood on his winter coat is pulled over his head, and as he fidgets with his black skeleton gloves, he begins to talk about what it’s like when he has trouble breathing.

by ANGELICA A. MORRISON

First in a series on environmental justice issues.

The scent of exhaust fumes fill the air on a mid-January afternoon. Cars, trucks and buses zip back and forth from downtown Buffalo on the Kensington Expressway, also known as the Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway.

WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

Some Buffalo school parents, students and community members left for Albany early Tuesday morning to call on state leaders to fully fund public schools.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says they will join a rally with the Alliance for Quality Education as they call for racial and economic equity in education.

The province of Ontario is embarking on an anti-racism strategy. It will begin with an economic study to quantify the cost of racism.