The WNY Peace Center is honored to have shero Leah Penniman, Black Kreyol educator, farmer/peyizan, author, and food justice activist, keynote at its 55th Annual Dinner on November 11th (5-9pm), at UB’s Hayes Hall-Main St. campus. Our theme is “Planting seeds of Justice, Harvesting Peace.” Leah is the co-founder of the BIPOC farming initiative and Community, Soul Fire Farm, which has been a great leap forward for soil health, equitable land use, food sovereignty, and so many aspects of justice: racial, economic, environmental, and more. Her book(s), Farming While Black, will be on hand, brought by Zawadi Books.
Leah’s contributions are deeply appreciated here in Buffalo. WNY Peace Center Executive Director Deidra EmEl is a Black urban farmer herself. The WNY Peace Center is grateful too that UB Food Systems Planning & Healthy Communities Lab is cosponsoring this significant event on such a timely and vital topic.
At the dinner, the WNY Peace Center will also be humbly offering the Phoenix Award to Survivors and Families of Victims of the 5/14 Massacre. The Award was created only last year to recognize, from “out of the ashes” of terror, oppression, and/or grave misfortune, those who Rise Up, Rise Up again and again, bringing Truth and Love along with them from the embers. The families and survivors of that terrible, racist event have done that in so many ways, ways as varied as the many survivors and family members themselves.
Garnell Whitfield will receive the award on behalf of the victims’ thirteen families and survivors (who’ll each get their own copy) as well as those who self-identify themselves as survivors of the horrific attack. A copy will also be given to the 5/14 Community Collecting Initiative of the Buffalo History Museum and the Buffalo & Erie County Library system for posterity. The way the families and survivors have taken their grief, trauma and outrage and used it in service of the community is truly phenomenal: speaking truth to power, exposing the longstanding problems, and working to fill community needs. We can only humbly attempt to appreciate the strength and stamina they’ve used to carry such burdens.
The Emerging Leader Award will go to Yanenowi Logan, a Seneca Deer Clan youth studying Environment and Sustainability at Cornell University. She’s re-activated the Seneca Youth Council; served on the Cornell Student Council; is on the Native American Student Council; and shows real leadership. And the Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Dr. Charley Bowman, activist extraordinaire. As a scientist and a truly persistent advocate, Charley has worked for Environmental Justice in more ways than we can name. He also served as Director of the WNYPC in 2011-13.
This special evening will be catered by Sunshine Vegan Eats, plus (which means vegan meatloaf and baked chicken are the entrée choices). Music, tabling, and more will add to this special occasion. Juneteenth Agricultural Pavilion will also showcase Buffalo Food Equity Network members. Our Online Auction will begin Monday, Nov. 7th on Facebook and end at dinner time Friday, the 11th at 6pm.
This event is the WNY Peace Center’s main fundraiser. Your contribution will help continue the organization, originally Buffalo chapter of Rev. Dr. King’s Clergy & Laity Concerned. For more info, please visit bit.ly/wnypc55.