Environmental Justice

Black History Month

National Black History Month is a time to recognize the impact that Black Americans and their history have had on America. In alignment with our Pillars of Justice, we encourage you to research and learn more about these (and more!) prominent Black social justice activists:

  • Economic Justice: Sadie T. M. Alexander – Sadie was the first African-American in 1921 to receive a Ph.D. in economics in the United States. Her focus was frequently on racial and economic justice for the working class, especially for working men and women. 
  • Environmental Justice: George Washington Carver – Although best known for his numerous uses for peanuts, Mr. Carver was a leader in educating farmers about crop rotation, encouraging alternatives to cotton to help reverse soil depletion. He supported concepts of modern environmentalism, including the basic interconnection between the health of the land and the people. 
  • Human & Civil Rights: Roy Wilkins – As the Executive Director of the National Association for the Advancment of Colored People (NAACP), Mr. Wilkins aimed for equal rights for all Americans through peaceful and lawful means. Notably, the NAAACP focused its resources on challenging “Jim Crow” statutes in the courts.
  • Resist Militarism: Martin Luther King, Jr. – The WNY Peace Center itself was founded in 1967 as a chapter of Rev. Dr. King’s Clergy and Laity Concerned, inspired by him to strive toward ending the Vietnam war. “As a minister of the gospel,” he said during his Opposes Vietnam War speech, “I consider war an evil. I must cry out when I see war escalated at any point.”

1/22: Anniversary of the TPNW

Along with today being our 2023 Annual Meeting, did you know that 1/22 is the anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)?

The TPNW, or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal being their total elimination. It was adopted on July 7th, 2017; opened for signature on September 20th, 2017; and entered into force on January 22nd, 2021.

You can learn more about the TPNW at un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/tpnw

Leah Penniman, 5/14 Survivors & Families at WNY Peace 55th Annual Dinner

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.