Open Buffalo, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to advance racial, economic, and ecological justice. Established in 2014, Open Buffalo, Inc. has become a leader in the provision of leadership development programming and civic and advocacy engagement to benefit underserved and marginalized populations throughout Western New York.
These same populations have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, with higher rates of infection and death due to systemic inequities such as lack of access to healthcare, employment opportunities, and environmental conditions associated with the region’s aging infrastructure and industrial past.
Throughout the pandemic, Open Buffalo, Inc. has been a provider of information and resources for the community. For example, in the spring of 2020, Open Buffalo, Inc. procured and distributed more than 15,000 reusable masks in neighborhoods of Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Niagara Falls desperately requiring the protections. Open Buffalo, Inc. believes in the science surrounding COVID-19, including methods of spread and methods to minimize the spread. While mask-wearing may not be comfortable and while small business closures are causing great strain, the organization recognizes and supports the guidelines that are intended to reduce spread, infection, and potential death.
In an effort to avoid confusion in the community, the organization’s Board of Directors and staff are underscoring that the use of the phrase “open buffalo” as an event name and/or slogan has no relation to Open Buffalo, Inc., whose naming origins underscore an opening of the region to build healthy and loving communities with equitable opportunities for prosperity.
Any group or individual that may use the phrase as a marketing mechanism for anti-mask or anti-closure activities in the current climate is only promoting division and perpetuation of the risks associated with failure to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. As such, Open Buffalo, Inc. does not endorse nor will it publicize any specifics about such activities.