Remembering the Message of Dr. King

"Memorial abre 10ยช Mostra Internacional de Cinema Negro" from http://www.memorial.org.br/
By Aweso Noor

On the BusinessDictionary.com website, social justice is defined as, “the fair and proper administration of law conforming to the natural law that all persons, irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, possessions, race, religion etc., are to be treated equally and without prejudice.” With this definition my focus shifts to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s response to injustices and how social justice involves the Massachusetts Avenue Project. I believe there are many non-violent ways to respond to social injustice, and the main advocate of this type of resistance is Dr. King.

Today, Dr. King is considered a significant figure in American history. Although his birthday just passed a few days ago on the 15th, America is now looking forward to the 20th of January to celebrate his life and achievements. Dr. King is known by many as the voice of the American civil rights movement because he worked for equal rights for all. This is an important aspect to understand because of the time period and how blacks were treated in the Southern United States. Dr. King preached excessively about nonviolent protest including civil disobedience. Retaliation he thought is not a necessary means in order to accomplish equality. By preaching about love for one another and peace Dr. King believed it would prevail over the injustices. One of his famous speeches “I have a dream” is coming to fruition because everyone is integrated and America is full of diversity just as he hoped.

Just as Dr. King fought for social equality and justice, MAP is also an advocate of social justice. Unlike Dr. King however, MAP focuses on the food aspect of injustice present in Buffalo. MAP helps ensure that everyone living in the area is able to get fresh and healthy foods. Buffalo is filled with food deserts and MAP's goal is to deliver healthy foods to those areas, and sell that food at a cheaper price. MAP helps fight inequality by targeting low income families, because not everyone is able to afford fresh and healthy foods.

Dr. King preached many times for people not to resort to violence and to live in harmony. Ultimately his life was taken away from us because of this, but America is still feeling his impact. His legacy will forever be remembered. Everyone wants to live in a perfect world, but at the end of the day social injustice is still prevalent throughout our society. I believe it’s our job as individuals and organizations to work together to help end social injustice.

The MAP Your Future Program: Featuring Serge

Serge, MAP youth employee
By Serge Muhahareni

Hi! My name is Serge and I am a student at Hutch Tech High School. I want to be a mechanical engineer, because I like cars. To me, building a car is like putting together a puzzle, each part is important and cannot be misplaced.

 I have been a fan of cars since I was a kid. I remember the one toy I was able to keep, since my birth until I was five, was a mini Elmo sitting in a toy car. I also loved seeing my dad work on motors when he took me to his job occasionally. I used to tell my classmates that my dad had the coolest job in the world. It is for that reason that I like cars and want to work on them in the future.

Not only did I like toy cars as a child, I liked taking the transformers apart and putting them back together. I have always liked putting things together, especially puzzles. I saw my dad once taking out the door of a car and I asked him; “Is it broken?” He responded; “No, it’s just like your toys, things come apart and then they go back together.” But as you know, a car cannot be put back anyway you want, it has to be accurate. If a car is not put right then it is not a car, just as a puzzle is nothing without all its pieces.

Cutaway drawing, from en.wikipedia.org
Part of making cars is designing them. That is a very difficult task. The designs have to show every aspect and every detail without a single mistake otherwise the entire project is ruined. That worries me a bit because if a single piece is not in the design, is missing or is misinterpreted then everything goes wrong. For that reason, I know I must not be careless or overconfident in this type of job.

In conclusion, even though this is a tough job where no flaw is permitted, I want to be a mechanical engineer. I have been familiar with cars since my childhood and I know I picked the right future for myself.

Bowling for Bucks for MAP!

strike! By Tinou Bao on Flickr.com
By Boncko Ba

I am Boncko Ba and I want you to donate to our fundraiser called Bowl-A-Rama. I’m one of the employees at MAP, we are Massachusetts Avenue Project. We hire youth during summer time and during the school year. We have a farm over on Massachusetts Avenue in Buffalo, NY. We grow organic food for people who need it and it’s also affordable.

Bowl-A-Rama is a fundraiser for MAP to raise money so we can hire more teens and get more tools for the farm. Last year MAP’s Bowl-A-Rama brought in over $6000! This year’s event is taking place on February 9th, 2014. You can participate by pledging to give MAP money per pin bowled.  If you know someone who works at MAP, ask them about Bowl-A-Rama so you can be their sponsor and donate.

Donating is a huge part of MAP. We want people to donate to MAP so we can hire a lot more teens, buy more tools, and so we can keep producing healthy food for people who need it. Employees at MAP have to ask someone to sponsor their bowl. So if someone asks you to sponsor their bowl, just do it. That’s how you can donate to Bowl-A-Rama.

Donating to Bowl-A-Rama would help MAP a lot, with many things. I hope you are interested and willing to donate some cash to this great event. We would really appreciate it.

Queen City Kingpins made these awesome tee-shirts just for the event!

Buffalo's Food Policy Council

By Dabreon Darby

On May 21, 2013, the Erie County Board of Health voted unanimously to create the Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County as a sub-commission of the Erie County Board of Health, the first of its kind in New York State. The Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County brought the issue of bettering local food systems in Buffalo and Erie County to the forefront of food policy makers. The Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County's main objective is to advise the Buffalo and Erie County legislatures and politicians on what decisions to make about local food policy in the region.

The Food Policy Council has just been put into effect earlier this year. They have only met once to decide on a what to do in the future. The Toronto Food Policy Council has been in existence longer  so they have already been working on policies and that’s what our Food Policy Council hopes to achieve in the near future.

The Toronto Food Policy Council is focused on food strategy, urban agriculture, and an agricultural committee to better local food systems in their area. Working with Sustain Ontario, the Toronto Food Policy Council had been advocating for a Local Food Act in Ontario. The Act was tabled in October of 2012, but on November 5 of this year, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed the Local Food Act (Bill 36) and launched the new Local Food Fund.

The Local Food Act makes Ontario the first in Canada to adopt a bill aimed helping to increase awareness, access to, and demand for local food in the province, and support local food procurement in public sector institutions (schools, municipalities, hospitals, cafeterias) and getting a Street Food Update for Food Trucks. The Toronto Food Policy Council has been around much longer than the Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County and are a good role model for what we want to accomplish in our region.

There are many ways to participate for the Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County:
  • Become a Council Member
  • Become a Sub-Committee or Non-Voting Member
  • Support the Council through a local food systems advocate organization
Become a Council Member- The next application cycle will take place in March. Council members are volunteers and must attend four Food Policy Council meetings a year. People with experience in the food system (farmers, processors, retail) and those with interests in food issues (consumer concerns, food access, nutritional issues, etc) should apply.

Become a Sub-Committee or Non-Voting Member-  Sub-committee members assist the Food Policy Council on a project basis. Non-voting members have the opportunity to provide input on issues put before the Food Policy Council before they go to a vote.

Support the Council- Getting involved with a local group that advocates on behalf of food access and justice also helps support the Food Policy Council's goal of improving the local food system.

Learn more about Food Policy Councils at: