*Much of Broadway-Fillmore might seem like the poster child for blighted Rust Belt cities: criminals roaming the streets, boarded-up houses with plywood windows and empty storefronts separated by vacant lots. Urban decay replays block after block.
But take a closer look and walk around Woltz, Loepere and Gibson streets, and you will find rehabbed houses, replete with fresh coats of paint, new siding and gable roofs. Many empty parcels are fenced-in fruit and vegetable gardens. Prostitutes and drug dealers no longer walk these streets. Instead, seniors relax on their porches, watching as kids whiz by on bikes and families stroll to nearby groceries, a hardware store and accountant’s office.*
For years I have seen drug dealers and other types of criminals flood the streets of my city. For years I have seen young kids growing up with drug dealers as parents, young kids on the streets of my city who are out selling drugs instead of being in school. These Bangladeshis give me hope, they remind me of the African American men I talk to sometimes when I go out to a local diner for lunch. These Bangladeshis remind me of the Italian, Irish, and Polish American folks who I have talked to here in Buffalo. While crime is an issue in Buffalo(crime is an issue everywhere lets be honest here) we also have good peaceful people here in Buffalo.
The thought of a young 9 year old boy being gunned down by a drug dealer as was the case in Chicago a few weeks back…can get your hopes down. But what gets my hopes up are the people of the world who feed the poor, who help their neighbor, who work to make the world a better place. As someone who has lived in Buffalo their whole life…I fully welcome the Bangladeshis to the city that I call home.