Making Buffalo Home

Courtesy of WEDI

Buffalo's popular West Side Bazaar, an incubator for immigrant and refugee-run businesses, is moving from its current home on Grant Street to a larger space on Niagara Street.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

For this last summer week before Labor Day and the start of school, this picnic in Martin Luther King Jr. Park was pretty standard: hot dogs, cold pop, bounce houses and families enjoying the vast splash pad. However, it was actually different: many women were in hijabs, the hot dogs were halal and the books on sale were English translations of the Koran.

Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

Making Buffalo Home is a WNED | WBFO multiyear project looking at the impact immigrants and refugees are making in our community. As WBFO's Kyle Mackie reports, one group of Karen teenagers who came to Buffalo from Thailand are spending their summer working at an urban farm on the city’s West Side.

Jonathan Garcia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Jonathan Garcia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The local nonprofit International Child Advancement is coordinating a back to school drive to equip the children of refugee families in Buffalo with supplies for the coming academic year. Donations will be accepted now through Aug. 17.

Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

It might still be more than a month away for kids, but some adults went back to school this week. It was the start of the Buffalo Public Schools’ summer semester of English classes for individuals aged 21 and older.


Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

Jericho Road Community Health Center provided an update Monday about how the Vive Shelter on Buffalo’s East Side is coping with the influx of nearly 100 new Congolese asylum seekers. The Congolese arrived about three weeks ago after being released from detention at the southern U.S. border.

Thomas O'Neil-White

While the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border continues to make headlines, the City of Good Neighbors continues to live up to its nickname.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

The International Institute of Buffalo held a naturalization ceremony Wednesday in conjunction with World Refugee Day. 25 candidates from 15 different countries officially became citizens of the United States. WBFO’s Nick Lippa was there and spoke with a few immigrants on what brought them to this country.

Jericho Road

One hundred immigrants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are here to seek asylum in the United States.


Nick Lippa / WBFO News

With a combination of guest artists, Indonesian immigrants and Buffalo-born residents, Buffalo Gamelan Club put on a four-hour show Thursday night at Kleinhans Music Hall that featured shadow puppets. As the group continues to tackle more ambitious performances, WBFO’s Nick Lippa reports on their growth in the community.

Nancy Fischer

In her latest non-fiction book, Wearing the Letter P, Grand Island resident Sophie Knab tells the story of her mother and other Polish women who were taken from their homes, their families and their country and sent away to forced labor camps in Nazi Germany during World War II.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

He was born in Germany in 1925. Stephan Lewy and his Jewish family were able to flee that nation just after Kristallnacht in 1938, but he eventually returned to Europe as part of the U.S. Army, serving under General Patton's command and liberating many of his fellow Jews. Lewy, who now shares his life experiences with local students, was honored this week as Erie County's Senior of the Year.

Ryan Zunner/WBFO News

Much of the current focus on immigration into the United States remains on the country’s southern border. But in Buffalo, a local organization continues to serve as a beacon of hope for individuals and families fleeing war-torn and unstable nations.


WNED

Friday evening from 5:30 to 8 p.m., WNED | WBFO's Making Buffalo Home is collaborating with a new exhibit, Finding Refuge in Buffalo, opening at the Horizons Gallery. WBFO's Mark Wozniak spoke with Jody K. Biehl, the director of the Universiaty at Buffalo Journalism Program who is in charge of the project, about the event.


Nick Lippa / WBFO

Making Buffalo Home is a WNED|WBFO multi-year project looking at the impact immigrants and refugees are having in our community. As WBFO's Nick Lippa reports, Dr. Peilun Vicky Chang has played pipe organ at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lancaster for 16 years now. The internationally renowned musician and composer has come a long way since leaving Taiwan.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo is hosting a visiting exhibit created by a Burmese artist who, along with hundreds of subjects he has met through his project, are former political prisoners in their homeland. His exhibit, a Show of Hands, features plaster casts of each former prisoner's hand. Some of them are of individuals who have since settled in Buffalo after spending years as refugees.

Lynne Bader

Making Buffalo Home is a WNED|WBFO multi-year project looking at the impact immigrants and refugees are having in our community. As WBFO's Chris Caya reports, a local company is not only employing refugees, it's also helping them learn English.


Saturday was World Hijab Day, and the local organization Western New York Muslims celebrated the event by inviting the community to experience the head covering worn by some Muslim women.

Matt Ryan/New York Now

The New York State Legislature has approved a measure known as the Dream Act that would offer college aid for children of undocumented immigrants. However, they stopped short of acting on a measure to offer driver’s licenses to immigrants in New York without documentation.

Tuesday at 1 p.m. WNED/WBFO is hosting another Facebook Live event as part of the "Making Buffalo Home" initiative. It's the second in an ongoing community conversation on the impact of immigration in Western New York. For a preview WBFO's Jay Moran chats with WNED Senior Producer Lynne Bader.


The region has become home to thousands of refugees in recent years. The influx is credited with the dramatic change in the fortunes of the west side of Buffalo.  WBFO/WNED Senior Director of News and Public Affairs Dave Rosenthal will examine the impact of refugees and their future roles in this community during "Understanding the Refugee Process." Rosenthal will be joined by a panel of experts for the community conversation which can be viewed on Facebook Live on Tuesday, July 24 at 1 p.m.

Have a question or comment for the group? Leave it on WNED's Facebook event post or send it to fblive@wned.org.