18th Annual B.U.I.L.D Convention coming up this Friday & Saturday, June 1 & 2, 2012

It has been said that if you build it they will come. Build a home and eventually someone will be clamoring to live there. Build a shed and eventually your lawnmower and garden tools will may their way inside. Build a school and eventually children will come to learn. Build a wellness facility in the neighborhood and eventually people will use it to exercise. If people like the work that PUSH Buffalo has been doing, then it is only right for us to give props to an organization that has been fighting the good fight in Buffalo longer than we have. In the mid-1960's organizers of B.U.I.L.D – Build Unity, Independence, Liberty, and Dignity – decided that they didn't like how things were shaping up in their neighborhood. So, instead of letting someone else come in and make all of the decisions for their community, they organized and took matters into their own hands. Because of their hard work and tenacity, the organization founded both the B.U.I.L.D. Academy, located on Buffalo's East Side, and the now infamous Juneteenth Festival. B.U.I.L.D, which was created out of a growing need in Buffalo's African American community for community-based leadership, lives by the motto of helping others by first helping themselves - the idea being that you can’t help others work on themselves until you work on building yourself up first. The organization’s mission, the empowerment and self-determination of the Black community and other communities through a unified collective struggle against the systematic problems that tear our community apart, is evident in everything that they do. On Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2 B.U.I.L.D will hold their 18th Annual Conference at 118 E. Utica St. in Buffalo at the Friends to the Elderly Center. This year’s theme is “Closing the Gap: Healthcare is a Civil Right…Not a Privilege.” The conference, which will talk about Buffalo’s need for more affordable, quality healthcare options, will feature two keynote lectures from Dr. Kunle Odunsi of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University of Buffalo and LaVonne Ansari, Community Health Center of Buffalo director. (Click here for a complete schedule of the two-day conference.) In the struggle against injustice we often overlook our peers, the organizations who are fighting the good fight to end social and economic injustice here in Buffalo. It’s a wonderful thing when similar groups can come together on the issues that affect the community as a whole. Paraphrasing Deuteronomy 32:30, “one can chase a thousand, but two can chase ten thousand.” Our strength is in building unity among ourselves. For those interested in joining or following the activities of B.U.I.L.D, the organization holds weekly meetings every Thursday at 5 p.m. Call 716.885.001 or visit them online, at www.buildofbuffalo.org for more information.