The fourth public meeting of the New York State Commission on African American History will take place in Buffalo on June 12th to show support for the community in the wake of the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Tops Friendly Market. According to an announcement of the meeting “the Commission’s mission has been to recognize and acknowledge the past and to generate ideas and action plans to fully acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of African Americans and Black New Yorkers within our society.
The theme of this next meeting – “Looking Back While Moving Forward: Recognizing the long-standing presence, rich contributions and pride of African Americans in Western New York” – continues that focus with a specific emphasis on Buffalo and the Western New York region.
On March 9, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed an Executive Order to create the New York State Commission on African American History. “The Commission is partnering with community-based organizations to bring New Yorkers together through events, cultural programming, scholarly research and other activities that promote a greater understanding of the history and achievements of African Americans throughout the State, including holding public meetings in diverse geographic regions of the State of New York,” according to the announcement sent to the press.
The Commission is comprised of fifteen individuals appointed by the Governor, the Temporary President of the New York State Senate, the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, the New York State Senate Minority Leader and the New York State Assembly Minority Leader. Two of the Commission members are based in Buffalo – Dr. Henry Taylor, who is a professor at the University of Buffalo, and Dr. John R. Torrey, assistant professor of philosophy and a contributing professor in Africana Studies at Buffalo State University. View all the Commissioner members here.
The Commission held its inaugural public meeting at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in November, 2022 in Harlem. The second meeting of the New York State Commission on African American History was held in February, 2023 at Philipse Hall Manor in Yonkers, where the Commission discussed the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation’s “Our Whole History” initiative and efforts to include exhibits that document the story of enslaved Africans and indigenous people.
In recognition of Women’s History Month in March, the Commission partnered with the University at Albany Africana Studies Department to host a panel discussion in Albany on the role Black women have played within our democracy and civic society.
For more information about the New York State Commission on African American History, click here.
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