The Power And Potential Loss Of The Black Vote in Buffalo!

Despite being the second biggest city in the state, and despite Democrats being the biggest political party in the City on Buffalo, the trend suggests fewer people are exercising their right to vote. A little less than 26,000 democrats turned out to cast a ballot in Buffalo’s mayoral primary. That's not quite a quarter of the party regulars coming out to vote. Of particular concern is the youth vote.

By Betty Jean Grant

On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, We Are Women Warriors group will host a Community Political Empowerment Seminar where we will encourage young voters to get registered before the November General Election. The position of Erie County Sheriff is on the ballot. I don't need to tell any of us in the minority community how critical it is that a new Sheriff with compassion and who is fair minded, be elected. The meeting will be at the Frank E. Merriweather Library Wednesday, Sept. 20 and it will begin at 5:30 P.M. Panelists and speakers include Charley H. Fisher, Katrinna Martin-Bordeaux, Eva M. Doyle, Duncan Kirkwood, George K. Arthur, India Walton and a representative from the Buffalo Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. For more information, please contact Betty Jean Grant@ 602-5877 or Esther Smothers @ 697- 6034.

-Primary Election Day Reality- For those voters under 34 years old, the polling sites on Primary Election Day were a lonely place to be, especially if they were looking for their voting peers to be in attendance. In some election districts, there were no voters who were 18, 19 and 20 years old who cast a single vote for their empowerment or for the countless lives lost by those of our ancestors, who wanted to vote and sometimes died or were killed trying.

What is it about voting that causes so many young people not to participate in the elections? Do they not care that by not voting for a candidate of their choice they are, in effect, voting for the candidate they don't want to win? This is a lesson that was not learned by the anti-Obama administration, Republican voters. But with Barack Obama becoming the nation's first African American President, they were ready for us, him and the congressional elections of 2010. I believe that was the year that we lost control of the US House of Representatives. It was also around this same time that Donald Trump and other racist persons and groups began the 'Birther' campaign against the President. And I was around this time that people like Steve Bannon of the Alt Right magazine and movement began to mobilize the ultra right, White supremacists, KKK, Nazi and other White nationalist groups to start a 'One-Term President' Barack Obama campaign. It failed to work in 2012 but they were good and ready for whomever won the US Presidential Democratic nomination in 2016. The fact that Hillary Clinton was a strong supporter of Barack Obama and also a female made the effort of trying to remove the legacy of the first African American President all the more critical for them, for they indeed wanted to return to the 'Jim Crow' and segregated policies of old and “Make America White again!”

Youths in Buffalo, especially African American and Latina youths, are hired last for almost every job; arrested about 10 times quicker for the same offense committed by a European youth; are prosecuted and sentenced to jail time more frequently and for longer periods of time. And yet when they can actually do something about their plight, they choose not to participate in their redemption but run to us and complain about how unfair the system is to them.

There were two positions for judgeships on the ballot and three candidates ran for the seats, but those future lawbreakers who will appear before these two judges did nothing politically to ensure that when and if they do have to appear in a court of law, fair minded judges will be there to ensure their impartially! The 'Greatest Generation' for voting consistently are the senior citizens in their 60s and older. They vote in every primary and general election. They are the ones whose fathers and uncles were lynched, whose grandmothers was technically raped by the overbearing sharecropping 'Master' who replaced the Plantations' Slave masters of a few generations past.

Frederick Douglass eloquently declared," Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will." We can no longer expect those who look like us to always represent us fairly, unashamedly and to fight for issues that may impact minorities. We can no longer leave the health and vitality of our community and its people to those who might not do the right thing. We (I am talking about the young; the older generation received and acted upon the message long ago) can no longer expected our leaders to be led by conscious because too many of them are led by those with the fattest wallets.

POWER 96.5: WUFO Radio Ushers in a New Era!

"Flips The Switch" to FM!

POWER! (L-R) Sheila Brown and Bishop Pridgen; Cliff Bell, MC at podium with the Brown family; Sheilawith her hand on the FM switch!

POWER! (L-R) Sheila Brown and Bishop Pridgen; Cliff Bell, MC at podium with the Brown family; Sheilawith her hand on the FM switch!

Last December WUFO 1080 Mix Radio CEO Sheila Brown celebrated the station’s 56th anniversary with a major, historic announcement.

WUFO, after over five decades, was to begin broadcasting on an FM channel within the next 45 days. It probably turned out to be one of the longest 45 days in the visionary young station owner’s life. And many in the community were indeed beginning to wonder: Is it going to happen? But last Wednesday, August 2 was a real testament to her tenacity, her determination and her faith in God. Sheila, despite obstacles and technical and financial setbacks, kept moving and never gave up.

Now, some eight months after the 45 day target launch was announced – she “flipped the switch” and WUFO for the first time in its history, entered a new era in radio as Power 96.5 “A Blend of R&B And Your Favorite Throwbacks!” A large crowd of well wishers, supporters and dignitaries gathered at the 143 Broadway station to celebrate the ribbon cutting. To quote Assembly Woman Crystal Peoples Stokes - “It was a remarkable day in Buffalo!” Expressing gratitude to all, Sheila gave a brief snapshot of her journey starting with going to Bishop Darius Pridgen and the True Bethel Development Corporation four years ago. “They believed in me,” she said “had they not I wouldn’t be here today!” She also had praise for her husband Kenny, and to Gail Wells, for their critical financial investments. However when the big deal came, she continued, she needed hundreds of thousands more to make it happen.

Many banks had been contacted but did not came thru. Enter Mayor Brown who, she said, came to her aid. They contacted M&T. The rest is history. “M&T Bank believed in the vision and were able to take care of the funding that same day!” she said. Clifford Bell MC’s the special event, as speaker after speaker heaped praise upon this amazing young woman. Gail Wells, representing the Michigan Street Heritage Corridor, recounted the historic milestone WUFO has forged not only in the African American community but the entire city.

Mayor Byron Brown led the crowd in a rousing call and response declaration of support for “Power 96.5.” He thanked M&T Bank for its support of Mrs. Brown’s dream by investing in the community and “giving her 100% of what she asked for.” Paul Tokasz, representing M&T Bank, said they were proud to be a participant with Sheila and WUFO declaring, “We’re all in with Power 96.5!” One of Sheila’s twin sons, Barrington, gave a brief welcome. Her two other children, Barrington’s twin brother Blaine and her daughter Morgan along with husband Kenny, were all on hand.

Jeffrey Richardson, is the first African American President of

the Amalgamated Transit Union Local

Jeffrey Richardson

Jeffrey Richardson

Jeffrey Richardson, First African American President of the Amalgamated Transit Union local 1342 in Buffalo 1342 in Buffalo New York. After finishing his studies in the state of Wisconsin, he returned to Buffalo, and began his career with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in 1988 as a bus and train operator. After many years on the job, he decided to become involved with the union.

Before becoming president, he served as union steward, recording secretary and two terms as vice- president. Mr. Richardson has also served as delegate for the last three Amalgamated Transit Union National Conventions, by serving on the national credentials and balloting committees. He currently chairs the transit union pension fund.

He is also a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union NY State conference board, Amalgamated Transit Union Black Caucus, and the Can- Am conference. He serves on the Alf-Cio executive board. Mr. Richardson has successfully completed several training courses with the Amalgamated Transit Union labor college in Silver springs Md.He also attended labor notes training in Chicago IL.

He is currently married to Alfrieda Richardson, and is the father of five children. He faithfully serves as a member of the Edison Street Community Church, under the leadership of Pastor Ted Howard Jr. In his spare time, he runs a referee association and a promotion business and enjoys bowling as a hobby. Lastly, he would like to give much thanks and gratitude to his wife Alfrieda and his mother, PastorGeneva Simmons for the many prayers and covering throughout his life!

Crystal Peoples-Stokes Elected Chair of

State Legislative Women’s Caucus  

Assemblymember Crystal People-s Stokes

Assemblymember Crystal People-s Stokes

NYS Legislature currently boasts forty-five female legislators, the most ever in its history.

Albany, NY– Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes has beenelected as the new Chairwoman of the Legislative Women’s Caucus of New York State. Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes will replace former Chair, Assemblymember Donna A. Lupardo of the 123rd District. 

The Legislative Women’s Caucus of NYS was founded in 1983 when there were only five female Senators and sixteen female Assemblymembers in the legislature. Since its inception, the members of the Women’s Caucus have worked to support both houses of the legislature from both sides of the aisle to increase the participation of women in government and to advocate for issues that directly impact women in New York State. Today, the state legislature boasts forty-five female legislators, the most ever in its history. The first women elected to the legislature were Republican Ida Sammis and Democrat Mary Lilly, both in 1919. The first African-American woman elected to legislature was Bessie A. Buchanan in 1955. 

When addressing the Caucus, Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes paid homage to New York suffragette Susan B. Anthony and unveiled her plans to improve the lives of women during her two year term stating, “I would like to focus our attention and energy on increasing female entrepreneurship and minority and women-owned businesses.” The Assemblymember plans to address this issue by creating opportunities for improving financial literacy and access to capital for female entrepreneurs, streamlining the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises certification process, and facilitating female mentorships along with encouraging a “tech-savvy” approach toward business operations. Additionally, Peoples-Stokes plans to further improve access to employment by seeking fully-funded day care services statewide through the 2018-2019 state budget process.

Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes is honored to be voted as the Chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus and plans to “remain grateful and focused on [the Caucus’s] mission as we walk through our journey together.” 

Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes represents the New York State Assembly’s 141st District. The district includes sections of North Buffalo, Allentown, Larkinville, and the downtown central business district, and the entire East side of Buffalo.