Open Buffalo is a shared vision of an equal, just, and free city driven by a united and empowered community, open to full democratic participation, innovative ideas and policies, new leaders from diverse communities, and meaningful economic opportunity and sustainable wealth creation for all. Open Buffalo provides leadership development, media and policy strategy and coordination, direct support, and assistance to social and economic justice organizations and campaigns, facilitates action-oriented community research, and raises the profile of and mobilizes funding for this important work.
Open Buffalo aims to increase Buffalo communities' capacity to effect systemic change through the following strategies:
Arts Integration: The Open Buffalo Arts Integration strategy is about creating new spaces and partnerships to uplift both art and activism in our community. Open Buffalo arts partners play a role in designing our leadership development initiatives, contribute creativity to our issue-based work, and help to change the stories Buffalo tells itself and the world.
Innovation Lab: The Innovation Lab builds Buffalo's capacity to generate new ideas, do original research, draw more effectively on local and national best practices, share information more broadly, and draft new laws and policies.
Leadership Development: Through various workshops and leadership training initiatives, Open Buffalo works to increase Buffalo's population of skilled change-makers. We train residents to mobilize their communities around equity issues and to take on leadership roles in community, nonprofit, and government sectors.
Open Buffalo's social and economic justice campaign work falls into two general issue categories:
High Road Economic Development seeks to ensure that the community benefits from economic development programs and projects through quality jobs, education and training, local and minority business opportunities, and green design and operations, with an initial focus on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the WNY Regional Economic Development Council, and the New York Power Authority. This area of our work addresses poverty, inequity, and training needs among workers, particularly minorities, refugees, youth, and ex-offenders.
Justice and Opportunity works with residents, community-based organizations, and the local criminal justice and corrections systems to create safer neighborhoods, cut recidivism, and bring about true community-oriented policing practices in Buffalo.
Open Buffalo's 2018 agenda includes:
- Fighting epidemic poverty and increasing access to safe and affordable housing in the city of Buffalo.
- Creating equal access to economic opportunities for everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender expression, neighborhood or socioeconomic status.
- Dismantling mass incarceration and repealing destructive policies left over from the failed "war on drugs."
- Bringing training and civic engagement opportunities to new marginalized communities.