East Buffalo, not the east side of Buffalo

April Baskin: "We are in East Buffalo."
Buffalo Shootings
People cross the street near an M&T Bank nearby Tops Friendly Market at Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street on Monday, May 16, 2022 in Buffalo, NY. Photo credit (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - What's in a name?

A lot, if you ask Erie County Legislature Chair April Baskin.

Baskin took part in a press conference with New York Governor Kathy Hochul at the Apollo Media Center Saturday and noted they were not standing on the east side of Buffalo, they were in East Buffalo.

"We are in East Buffalo," exclaimed Baskin in a WBEN interview following the event.

Why is that such an important shift of language?

“We don’t say north side of Buffalo. We don’t say south side. But for some reason, we say west side and east side," said Baskin as she pointed out the populations of the east and west sides is predominantly immigrants, refugees and Black people.

Baskin said Pastor Tim Brown of the Concerned Clergy Coalition met with a team from Hochul's office and raised the issue. "We refer to north Buffalo as North Buffalo. We refer to South Buffalo as South Buffalo and it’s time to equitably change our language as how we reference the communities that are predominantly minority in the city of Buffalo," Baskin said of Brown's comments.

Should the name be formalized somehow? Baskin says she's not opposed to the idea but says that language is choice and we can formalize it by simply calling it what it is. "East Buffalo."

Baskin said 'East Buffalo' is a phrase that has been catching on in the past several weeks since the mass shooting at Tops on Jefferson Avenue as the community comes together to mourn, reflect and heal.

"I am committed to referencing Jefferson Avenue, the Masten District, the Ellicott District, the University District and the Niagara District as East Buffalo and West Buffalo."

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