WBFO Racial Equity Project

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

Mental health among Black men has been a topic of discussion for decades, with a variety of studies pointing out how hard it is for any male – let alone one of color - to seek help. Add in an extra layer of psychological stress, economic challenges, and racial discrimination and experts say the need becomes critical.

Screen capture/Mayor Byron Brown Zoom chat

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown brought in a prominent special guest - though remotely - to read passages to local students in what took on an unofficial Black Lives Matter theme. One of the excerpts came from a work penned following the death of George Floyd.

WBFO file photo

It was a year ago Monday that Erie County declared a state of emergency over COVID-19. The ensuing sickness, death and shutdowns has changed life as we knew it. Here’s a look from the WBFO staff at the lingering effects the pandemic has had on Western New York.

Cindi McEachon has traveled to jails and prisons across New York State to talk with inmates about their experience behind bars.

“I have met individuals who can tell me,” she said. “Down to the second, how long they were incarcerated. Because that’s the focus when you’re in; getting out.”

The current system of parole in New York State is costly.

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.

Thomas O'Neil-White / WBFO News

The criminal justice system is a key part of America’s race problem, according to panelists during a virtual session sponsored Thursday evening by Erie Community College’s Anti-Racism Task Force.

US Veteran's Admin/File photo

  In recent weeks, state leaders including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul have insisted New York will distribute its supply of COVID vaccine with community health equity in mind. Leaders in Buffalo’s Black community speak of the need to build trust in the drug, and in the healthcare system. While the general attitude toward the vaccine seems more positive within the Latino community, those serving it say there's a lot to be desired with the current distribution system.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

On a day when state pop-up COVID vaccination clinics occurred on Buffalo’s West Side and East Side, key issues of healthcare in the city were online. It was the latest of a series of virtual Town Hall meetings, this time with the overall focus on vaccinations in the minority community.

NYS probe finds racial gap in mortgage lending in Buffalo

Feb 4, 2021
File/NYS Div. of Housing and Community Renewal

An investigation by New York state into mortgage lenders in the city of Buffalo found that those companies favored white applicants over those seeking to live in neighborhoods populated mostly by people of color, according to a report on the probe released Thursday.

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

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.

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.

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.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

The Buffalo City Swim Racers program has relaunched with a new name and website to encompass its growing activities, now known as City Swim Project.

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.

Center for Community Alternatives

Progressive activists and lawmakers held a virtual rally across New York state on Tuesday, calling on Democrats to pass sweeping criminal justice reform next year now that the party has a supermajority in the state Senate.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Creating livable communities throughout New York State is a topic which has gained steam over the last five years. A summit hosted by AARP New York on Friday looked at the divergent processes of government and community-run organizations in creating equity in the poorest communities in the state.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Two members of the Buffalo 5 continue to fight to have their names cleared from a 1976 murder. They were at a court hearing Wednesday morning seeking a motion to vacate their original indictment.

Thomas O'Neil-White

A fiscal analysis done by the Partnership for the Public Good estimates Erie County would save over $500,000 a year by passing a solitary confinement reform bill. In turn, New York State would save over $100 milion by passing the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement or HALT Act.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

Several groups, from police to the Peacemakers, came together to distribute 500 turkeys in downtown Buffalo Monday. But it also showcased the economic consequences and struggles the community continues to face as the pandemic rages on.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

More than four decades later, surviving members of the so-called Buffalo Five maintain their innocence in a decades-old murder case. Now, they'll have a day in court as they attempt to clear their names.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

While a lot of people are becoming ill — and sometimes very ill — from COVID-19, it continues to disproportionately hit minority groups, many of whom fall into the "essential worker" category, which means they have to go to work in reality, not virtually.

Thomas O'Neil-White / WBFO News

Where do we go from here is not only on the mind of every American citizen after the presidential election, but was also the title of Monday evening’s speaking engagement hosted by the Western New York Peace Center, featuring world-renown author, activist and American philosopher Dr. Cornel West.

The tightly contested 2020 U.S. presidential election has put Americans from all backgrounds on edge. University at Buffalo professors illustrated that Wednesday, as they discussed the racial divide and the impact it’s had locally and nationally. WBFO’s Nick Lippa reports.

Thomas O'Neil-White

For two local activists, the results of Tuesday’s Presidential Election has little bearing on the social justice work they continue to do in Western New York. With an eye towards next year’s local races, they see political hope with an emerging party.

Thomas O'Neil-White

At a public hearing Wednesday afternoon, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown heard from concerned community members regarding Cariol’s Law, named after former Police Officer Cariol Horne. 

Thomas O'Neil-White

Protest turned to arrests for five social justice activists Thursday evening when they refused to leave the grounds of an Erie County Republican fundraiser for Donald Trump. 

Thomas O'Neil-White

The elderly man who suffered a fractured skull after being shoved to the ground by Buffalo Police this summer told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he is doing fine.