‘We want to see the city be better, we want to see systems change:’ Jericho Road calls out Buffalo’s response to December Blizzard

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — One community health center is calling out the city of Buffalo’s response to the December blizzard, which killed close to 50 people. Leaders at Jericho Road Community Health Center say the city’s plan and response fell short.

Jericho Road posted on social media Monday saying the City of Buffalo was not prepared for the blizzard and that the most vulnerable ended up paying the price. It’s been more than four months since the blizzard where dozens of people froze to death in their homes, cars or outside.

“This is the month where everyone in Buffalo is thinking about what happened on May 14th, and I think some of the structural issues that made May 14th possible in this country are some of the same structural issues when we think about why so many people from Buffalo died during the blizzard and why so many of those people were people of color,” said Jericho Road founder Dr. Myron Glick.

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Besides learning from the mistakes made during the December blizzard, the organization says leaders need to address wealth, racial and access disparities. In a series of tweets the organization is demanding transparency and better emergency preparedness, from leaders throughout the city. They point out how more than half of the 47 people who died in the storm were black, when black people make up a third of the population in buffalo.

“The majority of people who died during the blizzard were our black and brown neighbors, were people who lived on the east and west side of Buffalo, where the infrastructure is not as good,” Dr. Glick said.

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Doctor Glick says their director of advocacy was the one who posted those tweets. He adds, their intention is not to call out any specific leader, but to hold all city leaders to a higher standard for the safety of residents.

“We don’t want this to be personal related to the mayor, it really is about calling all of us to be accountable, those of us with power so that we operate differently,” he said. “So that these situations don’t keep coming up again and again and again.”

“At some point we really want to advocate not only for individuals, but we want to see the city be better, we want to see systems change,” Dr. Glick said.

News 4 did reach out to the city for a response and was told they have no comment.

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Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

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