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Anti-Violence Group Seeks Jobs for Minorities

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Members of the "Stop the Violence Coalition" of Western New York staged a protest Monday. They are calling on government funded construction projects to provide jobs to minorities in Buffalo.

The organization took its fight to the intersection of East Ferry and Masten Avenue on Buffalo's East Side Monday afternoon.

The Stop the Violence Coalition says it is targeting construction sites that appear to have few minority workers, specifically African-Americans.

Coalition member Deacon Anthony Brown said if the jobs are offered to young, inner-city men, it would go a long way in helping to keep them off the streets and away from gangs and violence.

"Nothing is going to change in our community without blacks and minorities getting a fair share of work," said Brown. "We continue to talk about gangs in Buffalo. These are just a bunch of young boys that have nothing to do. No resources are coming to the community."

The construction project at Masten and East Ferry is a City project. Masten District Council Member Antoine Thompson said he did meet with Mayor Anthony Masiello about six weeks ago to alert him to the need for more construction jobs for minorities.

He was promised a follow up would occur. Now he is waiting for an update. He also plans to meet with the Department of Public Workers.

"We have to offer an alternative to the streets. When there is so much construction going on from trimming trees, to building houses, and repairing roads we have to make sure that our sails rise," said Thompson.

Thompson said with the recent wave of violence on Buffalo's East Side, there needs to be alternatives and gainful employment opportunities for African- American males who want to work.