Open Buffalo initiative will boost quality of life

Another really good thing is happening in Buffalo. Our community was just chosen as one of three regions, along with San Diego and Puerto Rico, to receive a sizable grant from the Open Society Foundations. This new initiative – called Open Buffalo – was first a dream that four local, non-profit organizations turned into a plan. It is about to become a reality; designed to advance justice, equity and democratic practice.

The mission, as I understand it, is to level the playing field in regard to important quality-of-life decisions and opportunities in our community. The Buffalo plan includes the arts community and I have been told that some art form has been part of every planning meeting over the last year. How refreshing that the planners believed it important to capture both the minds and hearts of those around the table.

The money is coming from people who are committed to wanting change over time, and they chose our community to make this happen because they undoubtedly believed what they saw and what they heard, what was promised and who was doing the promising.

Congratulations to the planners for showing some deep pockets that Western New York is a place of distinction. We have a magnificent history of people coming together out of courage, hard work and innovation. Thanks for the opportunity to swing the pendulum away from decisions by and for the few, toward what many of us promoted in the ’60s: “power to the people.” I feel hopeful and excited by this Buffalo win. To celebrate, I pulled out my favorite Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan CDs and listened to music that taught many of us the importance of promoting social justice. The dream still lives on.

Judy DeWald