Buffalo NAACP pushes the census and getting out the vote
The NAACP has never been a group without a cause, above and beyond civil rights. Monday evening's meeting of the Buffalo branch showed that, covering a variety of issues from the census to health.
For more than a century, the organization has been in the lead on racial and social issues. There's long been a push for more members and a strong effort among young adults.
Two major issues this year are the presidential election vote and the drive to raise the percentage of people who have filled out their census form, which eventually decides federal aid to states and cities and how many members of the House of Representatives each state has. Around half of local residents have reported to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Buffalo NAACP President Rev. Mark Blue said the organization stresses great issues.
"Voter registration and this election are crucial. The census is crucial. Let's be advocates of voter registration. Let's be advocates of the census, that we can make sure that not only is our vote counted, but our people are counted so we can get the needed dollars for our area," Blue said. "So it's very important that we are proactive in all of this."
The association is cooperating with an array of local groups to help with voter registration, especially this year with the national uproar about mail-in balloting.
Blue was recently confirmed as a commissioner of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, the agency that runs Metro Bus and Metro Rail and the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, all important in the local economy. He also spoke of his post on the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, which makes decisions on which businesses get government help and when government wants the money back.
"There have been some clawbacks for that," Blue said. "There are several companies who did not meet the criteria of their obligation and we took that money back and they are no longer a part of the tax incentive. So there have been some measures in place. Also, in hiring and doing minority contract work, as well."