“I am white Jesus negroes and Latinos, and I have come to save you!! Even though I’m not from Buffalo and my roots don’t run as deep as many black and brown folks who grew up here, who have lived their entire lives here, who have struggled and died in these Buffalo streets - I have used them to come up and have developed a lot of power through my white privilege and I will destroy you!!”
This is basically what Harper Bishop, Deputy Director of ‘Movement Building’ at
PUSH Buffalo said to a former employee when that former employee dared to join a group of PUSH Buffalo employees to ask PUSH’s mighty Senior Corporate Extractive Management Team about the money. We’ll get into that in a later post.
PUSH Buffalo has a legacy of white people coming from outside of the City of Buffalo (often the first and second ring suburbs) to do social justice work in the City, and often it ending badly. Harper has come in from East Aurora NY looking to be a white savior. He is a White Jesus transgendered male who grew up in East Aurora NY. Harper went to college in Washington DC, interned in DC, and then came into the city of Buffalo thirsty to be at any social justice organization with the purpose of using it as a front to build political power. He helped found and tank an Organization called Buffalo First
. Then he joined the Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ) Buffalo, a stint which didn’t last long. According to the CEJ website that organization is “a permanent coalition that unites labor, faith, and the community for workers’ rights and economic justice.” Then he went to Open Buffalo. That didn’t last long. He continued to use his white power and privilege to connect to the Oshei Foundation. This is a philanthropic organization based in the Buffalo area that gives out grants or gives out money for various social causes. If you want to build and maintain white power in the non-profit industrial complex, you have to make sure you’re connected to the money. Harper used their white super powers to connect to an organization called Assembly House 150. According to their website they seem like they’re trying to do some great work, but unfortunately they connected themselves to Harper. Everything that Harper has been a part of or even glanced at has faded to dust or turned into stone. Many of these organizations he connected himself to in his quest for political power have been hurt and/or have fallen apart. Buffalo First doesn’t exist anymore. CEJ basically had to change their whole approach to their work, and Open Buffalo almost faded out of existence! Now Harper has weaseled his way into a powerful leadership position at PUSH Buffalo, and has been a key figure in orchestrating PUSH’s toxic work and organizational culture. Lol, they dubbed themselves the “ Deputy Director of Movement Building”. Lol! They’re more like the Deputy Director of Movement Destroying. Harper is a wanna be politician, who fakes it until they make it. And, like many people who fake it until they make it – the ends justify the means. They don’t care about a no show job or a committee or board seat. They only care about using whatever means they can to gain power. In this case, gaining political power to be the white savior coming in to save negroes and Latinos in the city of Buffalo while making money in the process.
Bishop, a member of PUSH’s Senior Management team who makes nearly $100,000 a year to fake it until they make it, who claims to be a warrior for social justice. He has spent much time since joining PUSH about 3 years ago not working to advance the original mission of PUSH to create jobs and housing for disadvantaged communities of color, but trying to terraform the organization into a platform for his own political and financial ambitions. They have used their new white male patriarchal privilege to advance their political goals, but have failed horribly over the past few years. One such attempt is the “Our City Builds“
Coalition. Our City Builds was created to try to take political power away from Buffalo’s black political class and place that power into the hands of white people who aren’t from the city of Buffalo. And, they have been openly using PUSH Buffalo as a front and cover to do it. According to Our City they are “a broad coalition of organizations and individuals in Buffalo who have come together to create a policy platform that benefits people over profits”. Maybe they are a broad coalition of white organizations and individuals’ in Buffalo who have taken advantage of Buffalo’s gentrification pipeline, and use a few people of color to stand out in front, using them as props as they front for social justice aka political and financial power. Their meetings, the one or two they have a year in Buffalo look similar to a PUSH Buffalo monthly meeting. They look mostly white and old. That’s because Our City Builds like PUSH Buffalo is frontin for social justice. It is a front to build white political power by attempting to use black and brown issues. Or, manufacture black and brown issues that suit their political purpose. If you watch one of their meetings, just like a PUSH Buffalo meeting you will hear many white talking heads discussing issues that most black people in Buffalo aren’t concerned about. You’ll hear issues in these meetings that white people gentrifying Buffalo care about. Harper came into PUSH with the silly idea that he could use PUSH as a front to advance his own selfish political ambitions.
PUSH Buffalo Incorporated is registered as a 501-C3 non-profit organization. In the State of New York this means that it is illegal for a 501-C3 non-profit corporation to engage in political activities. For example openly endorsing political candidates for office or using the 501-C3 as a platform for doing so. This didn’t stop Bishop though. In 2019 Our City with PUSH Buffalo support and with PUSH Buffalo staff openly speaking, went on an international media platform, the Laura Flanders show and video taped an episode. They were being interviewed on PUSH Buffalo property and in PUSH Buffalo offices discussing that they were going to start running their own white or white controlled candidates for public political office. Bishop manipulated PUSH’s Executive Director Rahwa Ghirmatzion into doing an interview and joining this silly and unstrategic attempt at building power for white people through poverty pimping. Our City (and PUSH) backed a failed attempt that year challenging all seats for the Buffalo Common Council. It failed! This is one reason why many people in the community believe that the Grant Street Neighborhood Center (GSNC), PUSH’s original drop-in community center and the location of their offices for so many years in the early part of its existence is now closed. Bishop and PUSH backed candidates, white people who didn’t grow in Buffalo, or their hand picked black or brown political props. They even challenged Councilman David Rivera of the Niagara District of Buffalo. The Niagara City District of Buffalo is home to PUSH Buffalo and their organizing area which is much of Buffalo’s West Side. Rivera had been a supporter of PUSH since the beginning, and helped the organization get access to the city owned GSNC building. This is the space that got what many know today as PUSH Buffalo the organization off of the ground. Without Rivera’s help, who knows what PUSH would be today.
When Bishop is not busy using PUSH to advance his political and financial goals, he is busy being the agent of chaos that is the toxic work environment that PUSH Buffalo is today. Many employees have been fired or left because of Bishop’s patriarchal bullying practices when that employee does not adhere to the wishes of Bishop’s white power.