I am by no means a world traveler, but I do visit many interesting places outside of Western New York. Whenever people ask where I'm from, I tell them Buffalo -- even though I live in Depew.
Why do I do that? Because I am a "Buffalonian" and proud of it! In fact, I have never lived within the city limits, except for a few months above a garage during college, but I have been working downtown for 15 years and feel that Buffalo is where I'm from.
With all of the talk about regionalism and how one community's actions affect another, I find it necessary to remind everyone living within, say, a 50 mile radius of the city, that we're either from Buffalo or Niagara Falls. That's because social beings like us naturally identify ourselves with the nearest urban center. We are all "Buffalonians," so we need to work together to ensure that our home is healthy and prosperous.
Our city needs help to make it better and more vital. We all need to do what we can -- whether we're from Amherst, Hamburg, East Aurora, Lancaster or Depew -- to make sure Buffalo is healthy from public services, to streets, to housing, to businesses and entertainment. Even though we don't reside in the city, we can and should do our part.
A social community has a synergistic relationship between its urban center and the surrounding communities -- similar to a human body. What's good for the urban center will ultimately be good for the surrounding communities. Think of the urban center as the heart. When it's healthy and pumping blood to all of the surrounding body parts, there's a good chance to generally be healthy -- even if you hurt an arm or a leg. But if the heart is not working properly, then there will be no blood pumped to that healthy arm, and ultimately the arm will be impaired.
A healthy urban center can help feed struggling surrounding communities and thereby make the entire area alive, but an unhealthy center will ultimately have an adverse affect on the entire area.
We need to make sure we take care of our entire Western New York community. And we especially need to make sure our heart -- the City of Buffalo -- is pumping properly and vivaciously.
MATTHEW W. MEIER