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Letter: City needs Urban League to continue its great work

City needs Urban League to continue its great work

Buffalo is enjoying an incredible rebirth in which we all take tremendous pride. It is so wonderful to see our community rise up and move forward with energy and innovation. Yet a city is not solely defined by its progress; it is also defined by how it addresses its poverty. Poverty is not just a problem of the city, it is spreading to the outer rings. If we don’t continue to address our poverty, it will prevent the region’s renaissance from being fulfilled. We cannot revive ourselves if we abandon our neighbors who desire to do better, but may need a hand up.

This is why it is important to maintain long-standing organizations like the Urban League. For nearly a century, the Buffalo Urban League has been at the forefront of serving the neediest and most vulnerable. The Urban League’s mission is to empower African-Americans, other minorities and disadvantaged individuals in securing economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. With a staff of 60, it managed to serve more than 15,000 people over the past year, handling the most challenging situations that often tear families apart and destroy lives. In a city that is pulling itself up by its bootstraps, there is no denying the desperate need for a professional organization like the Urban League.

An error, which I am told was rapidly corrected, should not mean the abandonment of an agency that this region so desperately needs. The stakes are too high and the previous positive outcomes too apparent for a procedural error to define a long-standing, much-needed institution in our area.

Putting the Urban League through the wringer in this manner is a terrible and irreversible mistake that likely would wreck our best fighting force in the war on poverty and despair. And it would pull our community apart at a time when it needs to come even closer together. We need the Urban League to continue its great work. In fact we need it to do even more.

Darius G. Pridgen

Pastor, True Bethel Baptist Church