Newsmakers: Leadership/Entrepreneurship/Fellowship

pictured top: Jennifer L. Strickland , bottom left Alexander Wright, bottom right Kelly Wofford

We Congratulate this months newsmakers reimagining leadership,  growth and mental health in our community .

Jennifer L. Strickland Is New Juneteenth Festival President

 Leadership change at Juneteenth Festival, Inc. “aka Juneteenth of Buffalo”The Juneteenth Festival, Inc., Board of Directors , on December 1 elected Jennifer L. Strickland as its 4th president of the iconic organization that represents history, culture, and the progression of the African American community. Strickland succeeds Marcus O. Brown, who has served as president for nearly three decades. 

Ms. Strickland is an educator and  life long resident of Buffalo, who has nearly 10 years of consistent service to the Juneteenth Festival.  Her tenure includes operating in the positions of Festival Coordinator, Public Relations Chair, and Board member.  As coordinator of Buffalo’s Virtual Juneteenth Festival 2020, she led the team in bringing to the world wide web, the first event of its kind, providing over 18 hours of content to an international viewing audience. 

“I am humbled and honored to serve with our Juneteenth Board, our committees, and the community, to ensure that we continue to communicate and celebrate the freedom and cultural heritage of African Americans and their contributions to our world.  My hope is, in alignment with one of the purposes of the organization, to identify, educate, and foster leadership among groups and individuals dedicated to the perpetuation of the attributes of African American culture.”

Strickland looks forward to carrying on the legacy that’s been indelibly laid in the footprints of those who have preceded her as president of the Juneteenth Festival Inc.   


Local Community Leader Opens Black Owned Farm: Individuals Are Able to Rent Space to Grow Crops

Alexander Wright, owner of the African Heritage Food Coop (AHFC) has officially opened Blegacy Farms in Franklinville, NY. Blegacy Farms is a 22 Acre farm that offers community members and leaders the opportunity to rent 10,000 sq ft plots of land to grow and sell crops. 

This is a major opportunity for the Western NY community to get involved in farming, and business ownership. Blegacy farms will provide free training and support for new farmers, and due to the need for produce, the African Heritage Food Coop has committed to purchase selected crops from Blegacy farmers. This is a win win for the community. 

 If individuals are interested in farming at Blegacy Farms they can get more information at For media interviews with Founder Alexander Wright please call (716) 382-8627. 


Kelly Wofford Selected as 2021 Rubinger Fellow by LISC

Kelly Wofford, Director of Community Relations, ECMC and founder of Front Seat Life, Buffalo is one of 10 local leaders selected as a 2021 Rubinger Fellow by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). 

LISC selects individuals pushing the boundaries of community development and focusing on issues that impact the long-term quality of life for people throughout the country.

The year-long fellowships will support new models and research projects that advance economic opportunity, address racial discrimination and strengthen communities.

As a 2021 Fellow Wofford will be awarded $40,000  to develop a peer-led model for mental health coaching that helps people identify and manage their emotional health—not as a replacement for professional therapy but as an additional support for those who are struggling.