Open Buffalo Emerging Leaders are dynamic community leaders, representing a diverse range of identities and from every corner of Buffalo. We are happy to present this series of spotlights on Emerging Leaders graduates who are nominated by colleagues andallies in recognition of the great things they're doing in our community!
“Andrea is constantly looking for opportunities to help further economic and racial justice in our city. She has testified at an inclusionary zoning hearing and given powerful personal testimony about why she supports a policy that would protect low-income and working-class Buffalo residents. She also volunteered to be a Commissioner for the Buffalo Truth Commission on Poverty. I really appreciate her as a thoughtful, kind, and empathic person.”
-- Harper Bishop (Director of Equitable Development, Open Buffalo)
What was the most important thing you learned in the Emerging Leaders program?
Emerging Leaders showed me the importance of community involvement. All of us have the power to make change happen in our communities, in our neighborhoods, in our families; however, through the Emerging Leaders Program I realized that our impact is magnified tenfold when we act as a group. Emerging Leaders was the avenue through which I learned to channel my talent and my passion toward a worthy cause. In this case, for me it is social and economic justice. I am now aware of my power and my ability to drive change, and, most important of all, I know how to make it happen.
Thank you, Emerging Leaders, for teaching me that I can find my strength in my community. Change is coming. Change is happening in Buffalo right now. Wait for it!
What impact has the Emerging Leaders program made on your life?
The Emerging Leaders program helped me find my purpose in life and in my community. It helped me connect with like-minded individuals and enhanced my sense of belonging in Buffalo. Additionally, it helped me find opportunities to use my talent and abilities toward more inclusive economic opportunities and policies. It gave me the tools to start making change happen and build a better future for Buffalo, for my community, for my family, and for me.
What are your goals for the future?
My goal is to become a recognized leader in the community, perhaps be a member of our city council or be a member of an oversight committee to hold our city leaders accountable. I strive to continue to stand up and raise my voice for the most vulnerable members of our community. I want to use my education and my power through research and advocacy to ensure that the economic opportunities now pouring into Buffalo are available for all and for those who need them the most; not only the select few.
What do you want Open Buffalo’s supporters to know?
The hope for a better, more equitable Buffalo materializes in the Emerging Leaders program. It is a seedbed where the next generation of civic leaders and change agents collide and merge their ideas, experiences and methods toward common goals. For Buffalo, this is the future we want.