Plugging the Brain Drain

Growing up in Buffalo, people would always say things like, “our city is such a brain drain,” that "there's nothing to do here” and that "the politicians have all the money". Some would moan about the crime, others would cite a multitude of other issues, whatever the gripe, people talked. Hearing the negative talk, I too sang along with the chorus of folks who sang the "I can't wait to get up on outta here” song.

But, Buffalo is a small city with big dreams.

Being an astute observer and being able to travel to other cities, the one thing that remains visibly clear is that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. There's nothing like a change in environment to appreciate what you have. Yes, there are some cities that might be more "poppin" than Buffalo, but this primarily depends on what one considers to be "poppin’.” And, while there are plenty of things to do in much larger cities, like Boston or D.C., I discovered that in order to partake in those “poppin’” things, you have to have money.

You may have found that dream job, the one in the 6-figure range, but something is still missing in your heart. You haven't seen your family in years. Everything in your new city is nice and new, but you have to spend most of your week inside of your car. You also can't get into that fancy restaurant or bar because they're crowded all of the time. And, to make matters worse, that front yard with the spacious sidewalks that you used to have...gone.

But, fear not...Buffalo is on the rise.

Based on recent Census data that appeared in a Buffalo News article a few weeks ago, there a several Buffalo neighborhoods that are continuously growing. The Grant Ferry corridor on the West Side was mentioned as one of these areas as well as the Black Rock/Riverside area.

So, what caused this rise in population?

The numerous refugees that have resettled in these areas. The article, which featured a Burmese family that had opened a restaurant on Niagara Street, uplifts their amazing story about why they came to”brain drain” Buffalo and opened their new restaurant. (I guess it goes to show you that another person’s trash is another person’s golden opportunity...something to think about when you are itching to, “get up outta here.”)

But, what are you really doing here? Are you in the game or just a spectator?

At some point you have to roll your sleeves up and get down to business. If there's nothing to do, what are you going to do about it? If the politicians have all the money, what are you going to do about it? If the rate of crime is rising, what are you going to do about it? If your gas bills are too high, what are you going to do about it? If there are no jobs, what are you going to do about it?

Hey it's a dirty job but somebody has to do it. We all have our part to play and some of us just haven't figured out what our roles are yet. Appreciate what you have, but more importantly make some noise in the areas that need it. I know that there may be people reading this who are already making things happen in our city. Keep doing what you're doing; I promise you, whether you realize it or not, your hard work will pay off.

It's time for all of us to put our heads together, to figure out how to plug this “brain drain.”



This article was also published on TheGoodNeighborhood.com.