A recent NYT article is a testament to how one city—Buffalo, NY–has continued to welcome all immigrants and refugees–including my parents and grandparents– since the late 19th century on.
Just in the last ten years, Buffalo has placed 10,000 immigrants from the Middle East alone. Before that, the “Old West Side,” a low-income neighborhood near Lake Erie, welcomed thousands of Puerto Ricans to settle here. Going even further back, it took in thousands of Southern Italians, including both my father and my mother’s families.
On the West Side, my maternal grandfather opened an Italian deli where my mother and her brothers all worked together. At the same time, my father found work in the New York Central Rail Yards and supported his family with that job for the rest of his life. Both sides assimilated into the fabric of America, just as the “new arrivals” now are in the process of doing the same.
I’m proud to see the “City of Good Neighbors” carry on this tradition of building a bridge of love and acceptance to all comers and hope this is an inspiration to other cities to do the same!