WBFO Racial Equity Project

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

In 2006, Buffalo officials took a bold step by passing a law which expanded upon state and federal fair housing guidelines. The law prohibits landlords from discriminating against potential tenants who rely upon federal subsidies like Section 8 which is used by thousands in Buffalo.  On WBFO's Press Pass, Charlotte Keith of Investigative Post discusses her story which indicates city officials are doing little to enforce the statute                                                                        


Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The state agency that investigates inmate deaths is out with scathing findings in the death of India Cummings, the 27-year-old Lackawanna woman who died in the custody of the Erie County Holding Center in February 2016.

When Calling The Po-Po Is A No-No

Jul 16, 2018

Melissa DePino didn't take the infamous April video that showed two black men being handcuffed and ejected from a Philadelphia Starbucks—but she agreed to post it.

"I know these things happen," the writer says, "but I'd never actually witnessed it myself. And when I saw it I thought 'people need to see this.'"

So she uploaded and pressed "send." It got millions of views, and people are still talking about it.

Mike Desmond

Affordable housing in Buffalo is an issue that affects thousands of people and it’s made worse by rising rents in some parts of the city. In the second part of a series, WBFO’s Mike Desmond asks: What can be done? 


Nick Lippa / WBFO

In Buffalo, the economy is improving and that’s generally good news, but it’s driving up rents in some neighborhoods. That’s bad for people who can’t afford to pay much. In the first of a two-part series, WBFO’s Mike Desmond takes a look at the issue of affordable housing.


National Public Radio

For 75 years, the state's Cancer Registry has been collecting detailed information about cancer among New Yorkers. The data has identified fours areas of the state where there are significantly elevated levels of certain cancers. Among those areas is Buffalo's East Side and adjacent western Cheektowaga.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is directing the state university system to continue policies that promote racial diversity among students after the Trump administration said the federal government will let schools leave race out of admission decisions.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

Across Western New York, farmers’ markets can be found in just about every community, and each one has its own style. In two Buffalo neighborhoods, markets cater to unique communities – ones without easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables.


Dept. of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation / University of Rochester

More than a century after his death, Frederick Douglass and July 4 remain profoundly intertwined.

A lawsuit is being filed in federal court now challenging the city of Buffalo's saturation traffic stops conducted in high crime neighborhoods.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Say Yes Buffalo is holding its ‘Countdown to College’ kickoff. Say Yes Scholars have been attending a two-day event of workshops to prepare for navigating college.  WBFO’s senior reporter Eileen Buckley met with one of the keynote speakers who guides underserved students of color.


Nick Lippa / WBFO

Buffalo has lots of old buildings and pipes. If not properly maintained, they could expose residents to lead. As part of the Lead Service Replacement Awards program, $567,492 is being pledged to help replace water service lines. With bills like the LEAD act already passing through the New York State Assembly and awaiting Senate approval, further steps could be taken in the future to combat lead exposure.

Outside a tiny soul food restaurant on Buffalo’s West Side Lou DeJesus, an African American, is describing being stopped by city police. It happened last summer as she was walking from her home to a store.

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.


Video: Here's what Starbucks taught workers about bias

May 30, 2018

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. 

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