Good Neighbors: NFJC Works to Improve Race Relations

Good Neighbors: Diversity Dash

BUFFALO, NY- Some good neighbors in Buffalo continue to work to improve race relations as they prepare for the "Dash for Diversity" this weekend. 

Inside the local office for National Federation of Just Communities you'll find Lyndsay Raymond. A 22-year-old college student who isn't afraid to talk abut about controversial things.

"Racism, classism, gender, socioeconomics, all different types of conversations that students don't always get to participate in," she said.

When she was a sophomore at Kenmore West High School, an advisor offered her the opportunity to go to the NFJC's Sheriff Youth Live-in Camp.

"I fell in love with the organization. That particular camp was focused on breaking down the barriers between youth and law enforcement but from there I met so many different people," said Raymond.

That was 7 years ago. And since then, Raymond has participated in many other programs for students, and eventually became an NFJC board member and facilitator. She continues to volunteer as she studies for her Masters degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at SUNY Buffalo State.

She now leads programs that bring together students from the city, suburbs, and rural parts of WNY to celebrate their similarities and respect their differences.

"We're not the culture police- the diversity police- that wants everybody to get along," said Raymond. "But what our organization is so so good at doing is breaking down those barriers between people and getting them to realize that it just begins with the thinking."

NFJC President Lana Benatovich says their mission is to overcome bias, bigotry and racism and build a community of partners, and Raymond's dedication to the organization is helping to do that.

"I'm not only proud, I'm really thankful that she's staying with us because she believes so totally in our mission," said Benatovich.

Raymond believes she and other young people like her have power to improve race relations.

"I don't know what it's like to be you, but give me the opportunity to understand where you're coming from. Let me hear your story. It is as easy as having a conversation with somebody. And that's what's going to lead us to solutions."

The NFJC will be holding it's major fundraiser, the Dash for Diversity, at Delaware Park on Sunday October 2, 2016. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m., with the relay race, walk, and kids race beginning at 10 pm.

For more information about the NFJC's Dash for Diversity, click here.

To nominate a "Good Neighbor" to be featured by 2 On Your Side, email Melissa.Holmes@wgrz.com or call 716-849-2216.


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