Buffalo is a vortex of coincidence. A number of random meetings of fellow, or former, Buffalonians all weekend at the Women's March on Washington reinforced this. Yesterday, on the drive home, I happened to stop at the same brewery in a small Pennsylvania town for dinner as a group of activists forming "Veterans Respond". We had a great conversation about the peaceful, non-partisan actions they've been working on.
It is clear that the work of Veterans Respond is in alignment with many other causes that showed solidarity at the March on Saturday. Signs and slogans representing all walks of life reminded us that we share many of the same needs and desires as human beings. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs illustrates this: starting with the most basic things like housing and food, all the way to self-actualization.
When you are lucky enough to have your basic needs taken care of, I believe it is then your responsibility to look outside yourself, to see who you can assist. Community is formed in this way: empathy for the unfulfilled needs of others, and protecting the rights and dignity of yourself and the world. This is why I march.
In Buffalo, we are lucky to have a strong community of active citizens, who keep up with the issues and inform others. I have great mentors in historic preservation, urbanism, and architecture - all of whom understand that their discipline is interconnected with others. Saving a historic building isn't just about infrastructure- it's about future housing. Maintaining a beautiful, walkable city isn't just about aesthetics- it's a way to create safe routes to school and healthy people.
Our community is intentional. And it gives me hope.