From our partners at PUSH Buffalo:
PUSH Buffalo Elevates Rahwa Ghirmatzion to Deputy Director
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo), a community organization that has worked at the grassroots to create and implement a comprehensive revitalization plan for Buffalo’s West Side, with more than $25 million invested in affordable housing rehabilitation, weatherization and green infrastructure, today announced the promotion of Rahwa Ghirmatzion to the position of Deputy Director.
In her new role, Ms. Ghirmatzion will oversee the organization’s programs and day-to-day operations, which have grown to include housing construction, weatherization, solar installation, job training, a thriving youth center on Grant Street and outreach and advocacy on public policy issues facing urban communities. PUSH employs 40 people and has renovated more than seventy-five high quality homes over the past seven years.
Prior to assuming the Deputy Director position, Ms. Ghirmatzion served as PUSH’s Director of Programs, overseeing the growth of PUSH’s social enterprises and community development efforts.
“It’s a critical time for Buffalo, with poverty, structural racism and declining housing conditions persisting even as the city experiences new growth and investment. I’m proud of what PUSH has done to prove that every day residents can lead the way in building a better Buffalo, with quality affordable housing and pathways to good jobs in emerging sectors like solar installation, weatherization and green construction. But there’s so much work ahead to move Buffalo beyond the legacies of racism and economic injustice that are so visible in our communities,” Ms. Ghirmatzion said.
“Rahwa is an exceptionally dynamic and strategic leader, and we’re very lucky that she is stepping up to apply her talents to the challenges facing the West Side, the community that she grew up and where she still lives,” said Aaron Bartley, PUSH Executive Director.
“We are at an unique crossroads in the City of Buffalo, a time where we can actually ensure that all residents can share in economic prosperity, quality schools, and safe neighborhoods. In order for this to happen, we need bold, passionate leaders that have the fortitude to go the long haul and stand up for what is right. I couldn’t be more excited to see Rahwa’s leading a people’s movement for social and economic justice.” said Franchelle Hart, Executive Director of Open Buffalo.
Ms. Ghirmatzion was born in Asmera, Eritrea in the middle of a civil war. She came to Western New York as a refugee at the age of eight with her family, after living in Sudan. She was educated in Buffalo Public Schools and the University at Buffalo.
For over thirteen years, Rahwa has worked with community-based organizations throughout WNY that promote community development across many sectors, serving as the Executive Director of Ujima Theatre. She has worked in primarily underserved and underrepresented communities to ensure that alternative voices are heard, fostered and encouraged to participate in building a more just, equitable and civically engaged community.