The city of Buffalo is at an unmistakable crossroads, with a very clear decision before us. In one direction lies our toxic legacy – smoke stacks, depletion of resources, and lasting contamination. In the other direction are clean, community-controlled energy, jobs with fair pay, and investment in our struggling neighborhoods.
It’s an easy choice to make.
A press event, in March of 2016, marked the public unveiling of the Crossroads Collective, a new, first-of-its-kind alliance dedicated to creating a Green Economy on Buffalo’s frontlines. Crossroads representatives gathered at 527 West Utica Street in Buffalo (the “Five Points” intersection) to talk about their long-term mission for the Queen City and to rally support for legislation that will promote renewable energy and revitalize communities across the state.
“Crossroads is about recognizing that humanity cannot survive in our current paradigm of endless carbon consumption and ever more extreme disparities of wealth,” said Aaron Bartley, Executive Director of PUSH Buffalo and a Crossroads partner. “Our community coalition will put Buffalo at the forefront of the movement to create jobs and self-sufficiency through investments in practical solutions like solar energy, weatherization, water management, and urban agriculture.”
The collective’s mission and scope are unlike anything seen before in Buffalo. It is the result of a major, long-term funding commitment made in 2015 by the Chorus Foundation, headquartered in Boston, Mass. Buffalo is one of only four communities across the United States chosen by Chorus to do such transformational community work.
“At the Chorus Foundation, we’ve had the rare privilege of being able to sit down with organizers and campaigners in communities around the country,” said Farhad Ebrahimi, Founder of the Chorus Foundation. “We’ve been incredibly impressed with the work taking place in Buffalo, and are proud to be making a long-term grant making commitment to support that work.” (Other sites that received similar commitments from Chorus are in California, Kentucky, and Alaska.)
Said Sam Magavern, Co-Director of the Partnership for the Public Good, “The Green Development Zone on Buffalo’s West Side is an internationally recognized example of how green housing, energy, and food production can rebuild a blighted neighborhood. The question now is whether we can win the kind of state and local policies that would enable green development zones to blossom throughout the city, region, and state.”
At today’s press event, Crossroads partners also offered their strong support for the NY Renews campaign. Put simply, NY Renews means 100% clean energy, 100% good jobs, and 100% healthy families. Over 50 labor, environmental justice, community, and environmental organizations have already joined NY Renews and will be calling on the NYS Legislature this session to codify legally binding climate goals and an accountability framework for all state agencies, create a just energy policy that targets reinvestment in disadvantaged communities, and establish job standards to ensure local clean energy jobs are good jobs accessible to everyone.
“I am very encouraged by the NY Renews alliance and their recognition that energy, the environment, and the economy are so intimately dependent on each other,” Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader David Rivera said today. “I call on our state legislators who represent Buffalo and Western New York to make NY Renews goals for a healthy environment and inclusive economy as laws in New York State.”
Looking to the years of important work that await the Crossroads Collective, Franchelle Hart, Executive Director of Open Buffalo, said, “Unpredictable weather, housing stock that is among the oldest in the country, and high utility bills are having a crippling economic impact on working families and the elderly on fixed incomes in our city. The Crossroads is about bringing all these stakeholders to the decision making table demanding investments that create economically viable and environmentally safe communities.”
Today’s press event also marked the release of a new report by Partnership for the Public Good titled “Buffalo Niagara at the Crossroads: How State Energy Policies Can Lead Western New York to a Green, Prosperous, and Just Future.” Read the report here.
For Media Inquiries, please contact Max Anderson, Communications Director for Open Buffalo, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-292-4995.
Crossroads consists of eight initial partners:
- Coalition for Economic Justice
- Massachusetts Avenue Project
- Open Buffalo
- Partnership for the Public Good
- Public Accountability Initiative
- PUSH Buffalo
- Ujima Theatre Co.
- WASH Project