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New Brochure Highlights African-American Cultural Attractions

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Residents and visitors to the region now have a detailed guide to the area's rich African American Cultural attractions. The Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau published and will distribute the first time guide. But, as first reported by WBFO last year, some local minority leaders say the brochure is long overdue.

The new brochure is packed with information and its beautiful. The high quality publication has colorful ethnic designs, highlighting a myriad of minority events and attractions. The quality matches that of the general tourism brochure put out by the Visitors Bureau.

But it was when that brochure came out last year that the controversy began. Minority cultural leaders were incensed their events were not included. The Visitors Bureau says this new brochure is part of a planned marketing strategy. But Agnes Bain, who is executive director of the African American Cultural Center, says that is disingenuous.

"There has been a long-term concern with the Visitors Bureau. But I do want to say that since our first meeting in terms of bringing this up as an issue, I feel they have taken steps toward trying to do something," Bain said.

Still, Bain wishes she and her colleagues had been included in the design and development of the brochure. She says the first time she saw it was when it arrived in the mail.

But the Bureau says they've tried to be inclusive. Melonya Johnson is the Bureau's Multi-Cultural Community Relations Manager -- a position created earlier this year. Johnson says a multi-cultural advisory committee was also formed and meets every month.

"All of the culturals, including Agnes, are all invited monthly to participate. Now whether they do, that's something different," Johnson said. "If they had input that they wanted to express, they certainly had that opportunity."

Johnson says about two dozen minority leaders have participated. She says the goal of the brochure is to increase awareness of the region's multi-cultural resources -- and the tremendous economic impact -- of those groups.