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City of Buffalo Press Releases

Posted on: February 10, 2023

Mayor Brown Recognizes Outstanding Achievements of Local African American Leaders

Seal of the City of Buffalo

Buffalo, NY – As part of Buffalo’s Black History Month festivities, Mayor Byron W. Brown today recognized local African Americans who have made significant contributions to the Buffalo community. The annual awards ceremony took place in the lobby of Buffalo City Hall. This year’s award categories were as follows: Arts, Business, Community, Education, Law, Youth.

“Congratulations to this year’s Black History Month Award recipients,” said Mayor Brown. “It’s always a pleasure to recognize the contributions Black Buffalo residents have made throughout our City’s history. Our community has been shaped by countless African American leaders who have, and continue, to fight for equity and inclusion. This month, let’s continue to celebrate our city’s powerful history, while reaffirming our efforts to continue to build a place where everyone can thrive, across both racial lines and different backgrounds.”

He continued, “Throughout the month of February, we continue to highlight a number of outstanding African Americans, including the participating vendors who are hosting retail pop-ups on Saturdays at the Broadway Market, in partnership with Buy Black Buffalo. Today I ask all residents to celebrate Black history month year- round, by supporting all of our great Black-owned businesses and restaurants in Buffalo.”

At today’s event, Mayor Brown recognized the following awardees for their outstanding work in the following categories.

The Arts

Naila Ansari Assistant Professor at SUNY Buffalo State University in Theater and Africana Studies 

Community Service

Shantelle Patton Co-founder of The Dopeness Project


Steven McDuffie and the Bennett Highschool Football Team


Dr. Jamie D. Smith Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Chief Academic Officer, Senior Vice President of Education, and the Dean of the Roswell Park Graduate Division of the University at Buffalo

Daphne Ross Chief Impact Officer for Say Yes Buffalo


Pastor Pamela Taylor Co-pastor of New Life World Harvest Restoration Center

Evangelist Bruce Warrick Licensed Evangelist and Founder of the “Trust God” ministry


Shannon LaMar Johnson M&T Bank Business Banking Relationship Manager

Melanie Minor M&T Bank Cybersecurity Analyst and Business Owner


Dennis Wilson Teacher, Business Owner and Restauranteur

Rhonda Wilson Founder and CEO/President of Buffalo Black Nurses Incorporated.


Cavette Chambers City of Buffalo Corporation Counsel Cavette Chambers

Law Enforcement/Military 

Lieutenant Andre Lloyd Buffalo Police Department


Today’s special event at City Hall also featured music by Nia Badger and Saxaphonist, Will Holton. Mayor Brown also reminded people to support the special “Black History Month at the Broadway Market” celebration. Every Saturday throughout the month of February, Buy Black Buffalo retail vendors will be on site at the historic Broadway Market, located at 999 Broadway, showcasing their unique products and items, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. For a complete list of Buy Black Buffalo retailers, go to or or Facebook/ BroadwayMarketBuffalo.

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