Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Young,Educated and Ambitious

Buffalo’s development boom is creating more opportunities for young people to prosper than at any point in decades. Making a mark in Buffalo may be the way to go for many young people. Living through this year’s harsh winter, many of them are flocking down to warmer weather. But others who are recent college grads do not agree.
“It seems depressing when I come home which is why I don’t care to come back often anymore,” says Darryl Lewis, a Buffalo native, but who now is a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina.
However, after learning of recent urban development plans, many are all for making a living here in Buffalo.  Even with talk of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the new HarborCenter, and even investments for the Eastside, some young people simply want to move away. Jobs and the prospect of a career are crucial to one’s consideration of staying here.  But if one decides to stay, is it necessarily a bad thing?
Photo Credit: Huffington Post
            In a city where urban development has been slow to come (or in some cases not at all), after listening to Mayor Byron W. Brown discuss the plans at the State of the City Address, one may immediately be overcome with excitement. But in the same moment, it is still tough to find work now. How would young people know if the changes the Mayor promised will come to fruition and affect them positively? This question runs through the minds of many college graduates. So what is the solution for so many young people who live here and get their education but are eager to move? The key is to “find your destiny within yourself,” says Henry L. Taylor, doctor and professor for the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Buffalo. He said, “Each and every one of us has a destiny and it is our responsibility to discover it.”
            Sometimes people are led to believe that where they live can determine their future.  This is not necessarily true, especially within the African American Community. With historic establishments such as The Buffalo Colored Musicians Club, Nash House and Michigan Street Baptist Church in the Michigan Avenue Heritage Corridor, cultural heritage tourism is real and promising.  There are also countless black businesses and young entrepreneurships growing and blossoming.  To put it differently, there are many more opportunities for growth and leaving a mark in the city of Buffalo, more than people may think.  Companies like Buffalo’s only black-owned and operated radio station WUFO1080, have a deep connection to the city. Its location in downtown Buffalo is steps away from the African American Heritage Corridor and already has plans for the future. “We want to do some youth programming…a talk show…a youth being the host of their own show, moderating their own show and them bringing in their own guests,” says Sheila Brown, CEO of Vision Multi Media company. With opportunities expanding for Buffalo’s youth population, it all comes down to a matter of being patient as they chart their destinies.
Photo Credit: Ussamerica.org
            On the other side, at what point is it a better choice to move away and pursue goals in another city? With big plans underway for the city, it is important that young people focus on achieving their goals and to not only look at what is going on in Buffalo, but to look beyond if necessary. According to Claire Miller of New York Times, “The effects of the migration of the young and the restless are most vividly seen in urban cores.” These would include New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago and Boston. Sometimes choosing to leave is not always a negative thing.

Young people’s decisions to leave or stay in Buffalo are reflected solely on their personal goals in life. Taking time out every once in a while to reevaluate goals and plans for the future are crucial to staying in tune with what they truly want out of life. Regardless of the plans for developments or other positive changes occurring in the city, the decision young people will make to leave or stay in the area will also affect the future of the city itself. Being young and having options about where to live and what to do with their lives is a powerful tool.  So stick around and give Buffalo a second look.  People never know what dreams they can fulfill until they start reaching and believing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Putting Buffalo back ON TRACK

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

In recent news, Buffalo Central Terminal Restoration Corporation is seeking companies in the area to sponsor a restoration project for the former train station. This is exciting news! According to WGRZ news, the corporation is accepting proposals and ideas until the end of March. They are hoping to utilize the old station for a variety of uses such as retail space, housing, office use and much more.
Many of us know this station as a place our parents and grandparents utilized or as the place to party on Dyngus Day! Check out the link below for more information!

Photo Credit:WRGZ

Jam to Beat of Our City! George Scott, Colored Musicians Club

Photo credit: Colored Musicians Club

     The Colored Musicians Club has had a profound impact on development in Buffalo, New York. President and saxophonist of the club, George Scott, 58, has been the leader in the movement to maintain and showcase the club as a downtown historical site and entertainment hub. Scott, wearing several hats  as a father, brother and band member, serves as the voice of the club. Speaking passionately an positively, Scott is convinced that the Colored Musicians Club has made its mark historically, culturally, developmentally, and economically.
     "It was a symbol of hope, too, you know. Because if they were able to turn things around in a positive way for African Americans and other walks of life for African Americans now, we can do this too." Scott said in regards to the founders of the club and its contribution to economic growth and development. Scott undoubtedly has a passion for maintaining the club and upholding the rich culture and history if offers. "I think George has done a fantastic job at keeping this place alive. I think it's apart of the cultural dynamics of the city of Buffalo," says Tommy Blunt, a volunteer at the Colored Musicians Club Museum.
     As a graduate of Canisius College, Scott is a lover of history. He mentioned how often he researches different topics at the library, just for self knowledge. This speaks volumes for his elegant style of speech and his fruitful knowledge about the clubs history. Scotts 17-piece band, the George Scott Big Band, plays a mix of music that is enjoyable for people of all ages. In addition to leading his band, he is also an amateur photographer, former semi-professional baseball player and a fan of fishing and golf. Scotts well-rounded background makes him well-suited to be president of such a prestigious historical site.
     Scott notes that his greatest accomplishment over the past several years was the progress that he and others have had in making the club and museum what it has become today.
     "I'm just happy that I was able to be an integral part of getting this club turned around and being able to get this museum. This probably means more to me than anything; the fact that I learned from these guys, they were my mentors, my teachers."
And in return, Scott also helps to provide a venue for the youth to come and learn to play different instruments. Currently, the club offers youth music lessons on Saturday mornings from 11:00am-2:00pm.
     One of Scotts most precious and memorable moments he experienced was the chance to be the conductor while performing at Kleinhans Music Hall alongside Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, which he described as "a jazzmans' dream." When asked how he felt during the performance:
     "I was more busy with the conducting, I never thought about it...[he thought] wow, these guys, they're the best of the best...I had a great time, I loved it."
     Scott considers trumpet player Wynton Marsalis a prime influence who "carried the torch" for jazz.
     The Colored Musicians Club served and still serves as a venue for musicians and music lovers to come, make, and enjoy music together. With help from people like Scott, acknowledging these historical sites will help promote more urban development and growth for African American communities and the city as a whole.
     "With all the development in the city of Buffalo they're not going to be able to ignore the Colored Musicians Club because it's here, it's a permanent fixture and it's going to be a part of whatever develops in this area," said Blunt
     Growth in the city is not always necessarily about new development, but respect for the old. We can surely appreciate Scott for the respect he has held for the Colored Musicians Club the 14 years he has served as president.

jAmMiNg tO tHe BeAT oF oUR cITy! Getting to know Colored Musicians Club President George Scott