Our 2021 Annual Appeal
"Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced."
- James Baldwin, 1962.
In a year no less uncertain than the previous one, PPG and partners—now numbering over 320—strove to continue the hard, rewarding work of advocating for policy change. 2020 highlighted the cracks and inequities in our already strained systems and brought to the fore certain key issues—criminal justice reform, housing justice, immigrant and refugee support—that continue to inform our work this year. We worked with our partners on our 2021 Community Agenda to implement police oversight models, increase language access, and seek sustainable climate change policies. We analyzed the Buffalo police budget in our report, “Building a Safer Buffalo: Invest in Communities, Divest from Police,” and explored the City’s potential to discipline police officers in our policy brief, “The City of Buffalo’s Untapped Power to Discipline Police Officers.” Throughout the year, we offered capacity-building workshops to our partners and the general public, with over a thousand people joining virtually, and facilitated working groups and discussions, including a reading series on the writing of James Baldwin that offered participants the space for deep reflection and conversation.
2021 brought with it some hope and progress. We’ve been at the forefront of historic wins, both local and statewide: the City of Buffalo committed to implementing Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), a pre-arrest program we’ve worked toward for several years; the Buffalo Public Schools will no longer employ off-duty police on campus; and the NYS Legislature passed the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act (HALT), limiting how solitary confinement practices might be used in prisons, as well as the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), automatically expunging records for individuals whose convictions are no longer criminalized. And in the spring, when the City of Buffalo announced it would receive $355M in federal stimulus funding, we successfully advocated for current and past Community Agenda priorities to be included in the City’s spending plan. We secured commitments for funding sustainable uses of vacant lots and community food growing, water debt forgiveness, frontline arts support, community-led safety programs, and healthy housing rental inspections. We will build on the inclusion of these priorities to achieve long-term policy change in these areas.
As we look ahead to 2022, eager to see what is possible, we know now more than ever that we need fearless change, and no half measures. Without your participation and support, our collective progress and victories would not be possible. Please consider a donation to help us continue our work, and we hope to see you on January 13 at our 2022 Community Agenda Rollout—once again virtually—at bit.ly/CommunityAgenda2022.