The first steps to igniting change involve discussion among people who are genuinely concerned about the community. With the ‘Know Thyself’ seminars WBLK hopes to provide venues for these very discussions that will begin positive movements and promote growth in our city and within us as people.

The discussion began with posing the question “What do you believe is the biggest problem we are facing in the city of Buffalo?” While many people commented on similar, more recognizable issues, such as education problems, and unemployment; there was a broad range of answers as to where people believed the core of our city’s problems lie. For example, one theme that became a source of discussion was the lack of unity we are experiencing. Using her military background to relate her opinion, one woman discussed the idea that in the armed forces if ‘one soldier falls, everyone turns around.’ Many thought that our city may be lacking the mentality that we need to work together to achieve successes. On the other hand, one of the discussion leaders, Promotions Director Kole Porter, played devils advocates on the issues exercising the opposite opinions to fuel discussion. Concerning the idea of unity the question was raised of whether or not there a certain point at which those that do not want to cooperate are left behind? There was also discussion of the lack of unity between the government and the people. Many people felt that our city’s leaders ‘see but do not address’ the needs of our civilians, but how can we change that?

What do you think? Do you believe that as a city we need to work harder to come together, or should we work to unite and leave behind those that are not willing to join the movement? Should we be blaming the government, or blaming the people for not speaking out?

Another issue raised was both the education and mis-education of our youth. The group agreed that a major movement towards change will be to alter the attitude and mentality of our young people. It is clear that the morals and decisions of the younger generations are heavily influenced by outside social factors and here the topic of mentoring arose. Many people discussed the disconnect that has evolved between the younger and older generations and bringing these age groups together may have a positive effect on teaching younger people about what is really important in life and how their actions as youth will stay with, and heavily effect them in their adult life. One gentleman posed the idea of adult influence on children directly from infancy and the effects that behavior has on kids from the very beginning. These comments incited the never ending debate of blaming parents however it was also made clear that at some point you have to stop blaming a child’s surroundings and instead focus on how to change his mind after the damage is already done. Another man made what I thought was an excellent point; how can we promote things like good behavior and the importance of education? How can we promote that lifestyle to young children and make it cooler to have a college degree than to hustle and buy a diamond necklace?

What do you think? How can we help to reach our youth and find effective ways to communicate to them? Is there any mentoring programs that you know if in Buffalo that we could share with listeners who may want to get involved?

For the latter half of the discussion the conversation was geared towards solutions rather than addressing problems. One concept arose of treating education more like a business. With the graduation rates so low in our city it is obvious that there needs to be some changes made, but where? The teachers? The parents at home? The money we give schools? What do you think? Where do you believe the problem lies in our schools? Mentoring as well became a heavily discussed solution, and the recognition of one’s past to change their future, a major component of the Know Thyself’ campaign, also entered the conversation.

This discussion is only one of many that WBLK will be holding, and we encourage the community to come out and speak up about the issues that are effecting you, your family, and your community. These are the small steps that will begin a big movement and we want your support. Read for more information about our campaign and mark your calendars for June 25th when we will be holding the next seminar.