• Published

A pro-refugee rally will be held Thursday in downtown Buffalo.

Being dubbed a “Rally for Peace,” the event will begin at 1 p.m. outside Old County Hall, 92 Franklin St.

At 2 p.m., participants will march on the meeting of the Erie County Legislature, according to a Facebook post by rally organizers. The Legislature is expected to vote on scheduling a public hearing regarding the county’s “role in accepting Syrian refugees.”

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VIDEO: Behind the scenes of Thursday’s rally

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Organizers of the rally include WNYMuslims and the Western New York Peace Center.

“In the wake of the tragedies that unfolded in Paris last week, numerous local leaders have come forward to take positions regarding refugees in our county. Despite the successful integration of refugees into our community and the energy they have provided, some have come out to blatantly oppose further resettlement in Buffalo,” organizers said in the post.

“Let’s show our support for our local refugee population, which has not only stabilized some neighborhoods in our city, but given vibrancy to streets where there was only blight and vacancy,” the post continued. “Let’s show our support for the resettlement agencies that help these people who are just as afraid of Daesh as we are, if not more so, since their worlds have already been ripped out from under them by that evil organization. Let us rally for peace and compassion, not just in the Middle East and throughout the world, but in our own community, the City of Good Neighbors, Buffalo, N.Y.”

A resolution sponsored by Legislature Majority Leader Joseph C. Lorigo, C-West Seneca, seeks to hold the hearing to find information including “the costs and public safety concerns involved with accepting Syrian refugees to the county, and where those funds are coming from.”

Lorigo’s resolution also calls on the Erie County Sheriff’s Office to “perform a threat assessment posed by accepting Syrian refugees” and the Comptroller’s Office to detail “the fiscal implications of an increased Syrian refugee population” prior to such a hearing.

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