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East Side or ‘East Buffalo’? City lawmakers looking for the answer



BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A question everyone seems to be asking these days: Why is there a North Buffalo and a South Buffalo, but only East Side and West Side?

The Common Council is about to give residents a chance to answer that question.

Geographically, Buffalo is split along Main Street — the east side of Main, and the west side. But in recent years, there have been ethnic and racial overtones, and when a neighborhood east of main street became the target of racial hatred, that question took on a new sense of urgency.

The Common Council is considering a resolution that would change references to events and places east of Main Street as in East Buffalo.

Masten District Councilman Ulysees Wingo says it is a matter of inclusion — that his constituents would be calling a part of Buffalo home, not a side of the city.

On May 14, a gunman targeted the Tops Markets location on Jefferson Avenue in the Masten District because of the large Black population in a specific zone code — known as the East Side — and claimed the lives of 10 victims, all of whom were Black.

“I know that a lot of folks in the block clubs and associations all share a similar sentiment that we need to be referenced as ‘East Buffalo’ and be included,” Wingo said. “This is a matter to them of equity, this is a matter them of equality, a matter to them of inclusion.”

City lawmakers had intended to vote on Wingo’s resolution Tuesday, but the title called for “renaming the East Side,” and councilmembers preferred to call it “referring to the East Side as East Buffalo.”

It was sent to committee, and would urge officials on the local, state, and federal level to lead the change in their lexicon. The Council is planning a public hearing.

There may be more than race involved in the area known as the East Side. In my time here I have been scolded a couple of times by folks in the Lovejoy and Fillmore Districts who also call their home-turf the East Side.

So that public hearing should get interesting.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.



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