Thomas O'Neil-White


Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.

Ways to Connect

Over the last decade, criminal justice reform in New York State has primarily focused on the front-end of the system; notably the push to change the cash bail system and easing the amount of time someone spends in solitary confinement.

For many who have gone through New York State’s penal system, being paroled is one step closer to freedom.


Disparate Black political groups are working to plan a roadmap for political success for African Americans living in Erie County. But does the roadmap include the Erie County Democratic Committee?


New York State Attorney General Letitia James joined Attorney Generals from Massachusetts, Virginia and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in filing a civil suit Monday alleging Libre by Nexus, a Virginia-based immigration services company, of preying upon undocumented immigrants detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) detention centers.

A lecture series and mentorship programs are a few of the new initiatives the University at Buffalo’s Department of Surgery is launching this year to help address systemic racism and healthcare inequality.

Karole Collier

The University at Buffalo Department of Surgery is tackling the issues of racism, anti-racism and representation in the fields of surgery and overall healthcare with several initiatives this year. To kick things off, the department is presenting Beyond the Knife, a lecture series. Their first Keynote Speaker is well known Author and Activist Dr. Cornel West.

WBFO/Mike Desmond

Thursday’s news that a grand jury dismissed felony charges against two Buffalo Police Officers has put Martin Gugino’s name back in the national spotlight. Gugino was filmed being shoved to the ground by officers during a June protest in front of City Hall.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Religious leaders from across the state joined together Thursday on Interfaith Advocacy Day to call on state lawmakers to pass a solitary confinement reform bill.


A recent investigation by New York State into mortgage lending practices highlights the continued problems of housing segregation in the Buffalo metro area. Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing policies to expand home ownership in majority-minority neighborhoods, but members of a local home ownership equity group said the state’s recommendations fall short.

Thomas O'Neil-White

With the National Football League season set to conclude Sunday, the same questions about the lack of minority head coaches are being asked. Just five of the 32 head coaching positions in the league are filled by people of color.


The Community Action Organization of Western New York is launching a new nutrition assistance program with funding from the CARES Act. The CARES Act is a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill signed by Former President Donald Trump last March, amidst the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Dominique Calhoun and Myles Carter, two names connected to local social justice movements, have announced Democratic Primary campaigns for the Erie County legislator and sheriff, respectively.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced the lifting of COVID-19-related restrictions in the state’s Orange and Yellow zones. He is also developing a plan to allow limited indoor dining in New York City.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Acknowledging that racism is a public health threat to communities of color, the Buffalo Common Council and local healthcare advocacy groups are prioritizing the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to the city’s Black and Brown communities.

File Photo / WBFO News

A bipartisan criminal justice coalition is launching a statewide public education campaign on parole reform. New Yorkers United for Justice are pushing the state legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make parole reform a top priority for the 2021 legislative session.


Two local Republican congressmen released separate statements Wednesday, vowing to work with newly-sworn-in President Joe Biden and his administration to help move the country forward.

File Photo / WBFO News

A new analysis of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order to release certain inmates from county jails during the pandemic finds fault in its administration.

Sitting in the pews of the Michigan Street Baptist Church is to get a sense of the history of the building. A central part of Buffalo’s Black community for over 150 years, the church, along with the Nash House Museum, was given over to walking tours on Martin Luther King Jr Day.

Buffalo Federal Detention Facility

The Buffalo Federal Detention Center in Batavia houses inmates arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Some of the inmates have begun a hungry strike in protest of what they say are abhorrent conditions within the facility.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Gov. Andrew Cuomo rolled out a plan to turn New York State away from its current reliance on fossil fuels into a more energy-efficient state and create thousands of new jobs.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Dozens of people gathered at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Bidwell Parkway in Buffalo Thursday to condemn the overtaking of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.

Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz

Executive Mark Poloncarz is holding his regular COVID-19 briefing in Erie County. Watch here live at 2:30 p.m.

File Photo

Giving both economic and equity reasons, Gov. Andrew Cuomo came out strongly in favor of marijuana legalization for adult recreation in the state Wednesday afternoon.

File Photo / WBFO News

Another inmate death in the New York State Prison System has prison reform advocates calling for emergency action. 

Thomas O'Neil-White

Whether it was speaking out against racial injustice in North Buffalo, leading a teach-in on civil rights downtown or participating in a rally for better infrastructure on Bailey Avenue, India Walton was both seen and heard in 2020. She spoke to WBFO News about her resolutions for the New Year.

First Night Buffalo

First Night Buffalo has been a New Year’s tradition for over 30 years. And this year, organizers plan on giving Western New Yorkers the same entertainment value from the comfort of their own home.

Bills Stadium in Orchard Park could see fans in-person for the Buffalo Bills' first home playoff game since 1996. That according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who says the NFL is working with the state on a plan to allow 6,700 fans to attend the game.

Thomas O'Neil-White

The City of Buffalo is preparing for the first significant snowfall of the year as the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the city starting Christmas Eve.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state is developing a task force to make sure underserved communities are tested for COVID-19 at greater rates then they have previously.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine reached frontline healthcare workers in Western New York earlier this week. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has state the vaccine will not be available to the general public for many months, so the task of reassuring a skeptical community about the vaccine’s effectiveness falls on the shoulders of people like Pastor George Nicholas.