Let’s Talk About Jefferson Avenue!

The Jefferson Avenue Tops Supermarket has reopened but it is not a slam dunk by any means as many residents have mixed feelings about it reopening so soon at the location where ten members from our community were slaughtered.

There are those who are happy to see it reopen, and others who feel the community was not involved in the decision when or even whether or not, the supermarket should reopen at that exact location. Still others feel that nothing short of a permanent memorial should be built on that sacred and holy ground.

With the supermarket’s reopening ceremony last Friday, it seems that the issue has been settled. That may be so, but protests against the store reopening so soon after the massacre are steadily growing.

We Are Women Warriors believe that conversations with the community about how the city can improve the areas around the store can be more productive than continuing to protest the reopening of a supermarket already opened for business. A more positive move would be for the city and the community that was left out of the discussion about when the store should reopen, to begin the conversation about what can be done to improve and redevelop lots and buildings on Jefferson Avenue that have been abandoned or neglected for years. Conversations about what kind of businesses should be located on the Jefferson Avenue commercial strip need to be held now since Gov. Kathy Hochul has designated a ton of money for the area . A conversation about the terrible condition of the street and missing or crumbling curbs needs to be held, as well.

We Are Women Warriors will host its next ‘No Excuses’ Community Forum to give residents a chance to give input on what types of economic development is needed on Jefferson to make it viable to all residents, including those who say they will never again shop at the supermarket. Speakers will have up to 5 minutes during the 3-hour meeting to articulate how we can make Jefferson Ave, the restored economic ‘ heart and soul’ of the Black community that it used to be, decades ago.

The community forum will be held Thursday, July 28, from 5-8 PM,at the Frank E. Merriweather Library, 1324 Jefferson Ave. Speakers may sign up in advance by calling 716-602- 5877. Elected officials, city planners, developers and potential business owners are encouraged to attend. For more information or to sign up to speak, please call Betty Jean Grant @ 716-602-5877.