Residents at the heart of a community hub are affected by the Buffalo shooting, which is segregated according to design

Saturday, May 21, 2022
author picture Daniel Marino
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Original content created by staff

East Buffalo grocery store to Reopen

For those living on the East Side of Buffalo‚ New York‚ the new Tops supermarket has been a lifeline. For many residents‚ it was their only source for affordable‚ healthy food. Tops opened in 2003‚ and it became a fixture in the community. Now‚ Tops has announced its intention to reopen as soon as possible. A committee has already been formed to consider whether to repair or remodel the store‚ and Thompson hopes that it will be bigger than ever.

Residents of East Buffalo cut the ribbon on July 22nd 2003 to open Tops Friendly Markets' Jefferson Avenue grocery store. The Residents smiled and shared photos‚ gathered around food stations to enjoy live jazz‚ laughed‚ and celebrated the long-awaited achievement of a Tops Friendly Markets grocery store on Jefferson Avenue. Tops gave a huge boost to our community. It was our first grocery store. This was not a convenience store‚ like 7-Eleven. It was a grocery store. Martin Bryant from East Buffalo‚ a resident of the area‚ said it made him and everyone else happy. Told CNN. It was a hard-fought victory for local leaders. The location is close to two bus stops. Buffalo police report that an 18-year old white man shot and killed 10 people‚ injuring three more‚ in a massacre they believe was motivated by racism. As they prepare funerals for their loved ones‚ community members have been shaken by the shooting. The tight knit community‚ while mourning the loss of loved ones‚ is grieving another devastating blow. It is the aftermath of the closing of the store that was a safety haven for the neighborhood of Buffalo. Many Masten Park Residents found it to be a source of water in an area they had been living in for many years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)‚ this is an area where there are no affordable foods‚ fruits and vegetables. On May 15‚ people gathered outside Tops in Buffalo‚ N.Y. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) Ulysees Wingo‚ Buffalo City Councilman‚ said that this Tops was our main food source and our source of healthy foods. The Associated Press. This is how we can tell that this was hate crime. He not only targeted Black people‚ but also our ability to eat healthy food. Councilman said that grocery stores are not only a destination for shopping‚ but also a gathering place where community members can gather. This is where we meet to chat. You can go there to get bread. If you stay longer than 15 minutes you will find people that you are familiar with and have several conversations. Della Miller‚ a local activist and food blogger‚ fought for Tops' opening. The store was a viable option for fresh produce in Buffalo‚ where 78% residents‚ according to the 2020 American Community Survey of the Census Bureau‚ are Black. We did an entire block-by-block measurement in 2008 in all of County and this specific neighborhood‚ Samina Raja (a University of Buffalo professor and the founder of Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab) told Yahoo News. She said that this was the first study to show that there were fewer supermarkets located in Black neighborhoods than in white ones‚ even after adjusting for wealth and other factors. It was basically racial discrimination in the local food system versus economic power. Tops' presence is therefore crucial. After the shooting‚ people comfort one another. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) According to a 2010 census‚ the Buffalo Niagara Falls region was the largest in the country. Nation's sixth-most-segregated area. There are many factors that contribute to the segregation of Buffalo's East Side. Being on redlining maps Raja points to the fact that this was in 1930s. Redlining‚ a discriminatory practice that prevents potential customers from accessing financial investments or other resources in areas deemed to be risky for investment‚ is called redlining. This causes a bubble of segregation in which both the government and private sector have to divest resources. This is how communities can become invisibile and people are then blamed for their poverty because they live within the community. Patrice Willoughby of the NAACP‚ vice president of policy‚ and legislative affairs told Yahoo News that she also worked as a General Services Administrator under the Obama administration. In reality‚ the society created those conditions through both intentional and negligent policy. According to a 2018 report the Partnership for the Public Good also made the area a victim to the construction of America's interstate highway network in the United States. 1950s and 1960s The Kensington Expressway was built by‚ located in the heart of the Black middle class neighborhood that had just emerged at the time. This highway disconnected the community from banks and walking grocery stores. It slowed economic growth and development and worsened inequality for many decades. This type of segregation is not uncommon in U.S. cities‚ Willoughby points. She said that there were places where the Black business community was growing and developing. However‚ too many times‚ these communities were also subject to the construction of roads and intersections‚ such as East Buffalo. These roadways cut neighborhoods off from larger businesses. This‚ combined with the fact that the federal government sometimes continued to invest in infrastructure funds and other resources‚ created and strengthened inequality. A university of buffalo a report from 2021 showed that the living conditions of Black Buffalo Residents have not improved in terms of health‚ housing and education. Some cases had seen a decline in the 30 years preceding. Despite these types of deliberate obstacles‚ Buffalo Residents claim that they found the strength and resilience in community even after going through them. Pastor Andre Kamoche (left) and Greg Jackson‚ Rehoboth House of Prayer‚ unloaded a truck of fresh produce on Tuesday to distribute to those affected by the closure of Tops. (Joshua Bessex/AP) Raja stated that Tops's presence does not just concern food. The neighbors' work is also represented by Tops' presence. Even though the private and public sectors have disinvested in their respective areas‚ they still manage to work together and organize. People are not going to wait around for someone else to fix their problems. Raja is part of Buffalo Food Equity Network. This caucus represents Black‚ Brown‚ and Indigenous individuals who provide food assistance to the neighbourhood. Raja also cites the difficulties caused by the inequalities in the community. These inequalities are now made worse by the May 14 shooting. Ten victims are now dead. In addition to the trauma inflicted upon them‚ everyone else in the area has also been affected. It's very common for extreme violence to occur in an area of a neighbourhood.

grocery store east buffalo tops supermarket friendly markets community getty images university of neighborhood samina raja <strong>Residents</strong> at the heart a hub are affected by shooting which is segregated according to design

It can also be felt in a long-term‚ chronic manner. She said that people can remember the events in this neighborhood whether they are intergenerational or in marker form. It is not just about the food. This is creating trauma in the community and a whole neighborhood. It is something I doubt we've fully dealt with. On Monday‚ mourners light candles outside a temporary memorial. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) There are many local groups like the Buffalo Food Equity Network‚ churches and other organizations. Buffalo Community Fridges Network -- A mutual aid group which fills the need for community refrigerators local farmers and fresh produce have been donated to neighbors‚ as well as prepared meals. These people are joining forces with local Residents who were affected by the shooting. Tops also offers a daily free shuttle service to transport customers from one Tops location in Buffalo to the other‚ which is an option for people who are unable to commute by public transportation. Willoughby also noted that the community bears the brunt of the responsibility. To get food‚ people will need to plan more. However‚ the fact that there is a retail store in an area with higher resources makes it much easier to just go about our daily lives. A shooting such as this‚ and the deliberate targeting of a Black community to it has a greater impact on under-resourced communities than other areas. Raja called upon the New York Governor. Kathy Hochul should invest in historical oppressed areas like East Side Buffalo‚ which have been adversely affected by structural racism. Alexander Wright founded the African Heritage Food Co-op which provides fresh produce in affordable prices to parts of the city. The East Side Buffalo building is home to African Heritage Food Co-op. To get the operation started‚ he needs capital funds of $3 million. Is there $15 million‚ $20 million‚ or more to construct a cold storage facility‚ a community center with a healing area‚ mental health facility‚ or a capital facility? She said. Is there any money available to fund African Heritage Food Co-op's construction? It's not much for a state government. Willoughby also agrees that it is long past time that the public and private sector recognize Black communities in the East Side as potential markets for investment. This goal was achieved by securing Tops' East Side location. For its part‚ the grocery store pledged that it would reopen in order to continue serving its customers. Near the site of the shooting is a memorial. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters) For now though‚ Residents will be laying their loved ones to sleep this weekend. The grief that comes with the loss of something so important to a community already dealing with trauma‚ which has seen it band together through victories as well as losses‚ has been overwhelming. This is the one. Jillian Hanesworth‚ Buffalo poet laureate‚ told the AP that Tops is our grocery store. Our grocery store is our home‚ so I worry that it won't feel the same as ours when it reopens. We fought for it to be ours.