Since the launch of Buffalo Toronto Public Media’s (BTPM) Making Buffalo Home in 2018, the central goal of the project has been to illustrate how immigration is part of our shared history for both new arrivals to western New York and longtime residents who have made their home in Buffalo over the last 200 years.
We partnered with local resettlement agencies and introduced ourselves to dozens of new immigrant groups, which sent us on a journey to establish and build trust. We were able to witness grassroots organizations working with people of all ages to overcome trauma, learn a new language, and navigate a new life for themselves and their families. The result has been invaluable to us as an organization.
BTPM has taken a comprehensive approach to producing the project through personal digital videos, in-depth web content, community engagement, and broadcast programming.
The “Stories” series profiles immigrants as they reflect on their journey to Buffalo. The “Community Filmmaker” series puts the camera in the hands of the participant, who is paid a stipend to construct a story from their perspective and shoot their own footage. We work with them to provide editing support. “Flavors From Home” is a food series where we step inside the kitchens and restaurants of immigrants in the area to learn more about food traditions from around the world.
We hosted Facebook Live discussions about the resettlement process and the impact of immigration on our economy, as well as a series of community conversations. One was an evening storytelling event with partners at the University at Buffalo featuring the photojournalism exhibit, “Finding Refuge in Buffalo.”
Our public radio team reported 17 long-form stories, including ones on employment and job creation for refugees and the local impact of immigration policies. We also produced two broadcast television shows. “A Refugee’s First Year” lookied at challenges new arrivals face. “Immigration in a Welcoming City” discussed the challenges from the perspective of the home city.
All of this content is available on a comprehensive website that provides additional context and allows visitors to submit their own stories. Our stories have reached tens of thousands of people throughout the community.