Share Your Story

Making Buffalo Home is collecting stories of people in our community who have come to America and set roots in Western New York—whether your great grandfather was the first to arrive 100 years ago, or you just began the Buffalo chapter of your story 100 days ago. We want to hear your story too!

 

We invite you to share a personal photograph or video and write a short narrative to add to our Making Buffalo Home mosaic.

3 Ways to Share
USE THE FORM BELOW:

Share Your Story

Use the link below to access the form to submit your story.

SEND AN EMAIL:
Email makingbuffalohome@wned.org. Include a brief narrative about your or your ancestors’ journey to America and making Buffalo home. You can also attach a photo that we will include on our website. Be sure to include your name, country of origin and city of town where you currently live. Please limit your story to 300 words.
email makingbuffalohome@wned.org
SOCIAL MEDIA:
Create a social media post featuring a photo and brief description.
Tag your story with #makingbuffalohome
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Please read the submission FAQ prior to submitting your story.

Your content may be featured on wned.org and on WNED | WBFO social media. WNED | WBFO will review all submissions prior to appearing on the website. Content deemed inappropriate will be rejected and will not appear on the website.
Explore Our Making Buffalo Home Story Mosaic

See what other people are sharing:

Inchiostro Family

My Uncle Lawrence Inchiostro’s family was originally from Ragusa, Sicily. Many of them immigrated to the United States in 1915, travelling on the Santa Anna from Palermo in Southern Italy.

Eventually, Esther Inchiostro married Carmello Burrafato, whose family came here from Pozallo, Italy in 1904. They both became citizens in 1939 and together owned and operated The Garrick Bar.

Lynne
Cheektowaga, NY
I immigrated from Burma in early 2006 to pursue education and a new life in the United States. I was only 18 at that time. Life in Burma was very difficult. My family already had to seek asylum here in the United States before I arrived. Eventually I did the same. Having witnessed enormous amounts of social injustice in my native country, and a significant threat to my own life, I’m fortunate for the opportunities of education and a meaningful career here in the United States. It was in Buffalo that I first saw another person from my home country – what a joy that was. It left me yearning to find out more about this city and the refugee and immigrant communities here. As I became better acquainted with my new home, I realized this country also experiences social, political, economic, and academic injustice in its own way. I want to work alongside my fellow Buffalonians to help us understand and appreciate all we can offer each other.

Ba Zan Lin
Buffalo, NY
Cologero and Concetta Sanfilippo
My great-grandparents Cologero and Concetta Sanfilippo arrived in Buffalo in 1920 from Castel Termini and Agrigento, Italy on board a German ship that had been captured by the Italian and American navies. The ship was renamed the Woodrow Wilson.

At that time, any Italian veteran that wished to Migrate to the United States received free passage on the Wilson. My great grandmother shared stories with my Aunt about seeing the Statue of Liberty, and finally boarding a train that would take them to Buffalo, NY.

Matt
Buffalo, NY
Tom's Family

In the late sixties my grandfather left everything he had in Egypt and moved to New York City as part of a program to work with the United Nations. It wasn't until years later that he would bring his new family of five to Brooklyn to begin their lives as Americans. Largely misunderstood in a new society, my grandfather’s family were left no choice but to Westernize while carefully keeping core Coptic (Egyptian-Christian) values intact. Coptic people pride themselves in having a close relationship with their faith, and an even closer relationship with their large families. Traditional Coptic Christmas, for example, involves a family gathering at midnight on January 6th with immediate, extended family & friends. Tables are filled with traditionally prepared meats, pastas and delectable desserts to end the two month long vegetarian fast. Truly a night never to be alienated, regardless of westernization.

The family quickly grew accustomed to their new lifestyle; my father a die hard Yankees fan, my grandmother working in the fashion district, and my grandfather a distinguished United Nations employee to name a few examples. Overtime each family member moved away whether for work or marriage and the family began to settle around Lake Ontario. My aunt and grandparents settling in Mississauga and the other aunt in Buffalo. My father was the hold out traveling every year to different Hotels as he was a leading Hotel Operations Specialist in his company. In May 2005 my father passed away as a result of a brain aneurysm leaving my mother, sister and I alone.While myself only thirteen and my sister nine, we knew when we discussed with our mother that moving to Buffalo to be closer with family was a must. Thirteen years later I cannot imagine my life anywhere but Buffalo - The value of family and faith passed down from my grandfather directly influencing that decision.

Tom
Youngstown, NY
Grace Etiopia-Russo (age 60) pictured with her son Anthony and family in New York City in 1956
My paternal grandmother, Grace Etiopia, was born in 1896 in Valguarnera, Sicily. She immigrated to the United States from Palermo, Italy aboard the S.S. Francesca in 1907. She and her brother, Giuseppi, were travelling to Buffalo to live with their father. Grace was 11 years old. Her mother was deceased.

At 16 years old Grace married Philip Russo. They settled in an Italian neighborhood in Buffalo and had six children, five girls and one boy. Their west side property had two homes on one lot which enabled three of her children’s families and Grace to live together. They gathered together for family dinners on Sundays--usually in Grace's small apartment. They kept an eye on each other’s children. And they all gathered in their one basement to help with the seasonal tomato canning—even the grandchildren. Eventually, some of Grace’s children moved from the “family” residence to live on their own, but they never lost the bond of those early days together.

Unfortunately, Phillip and Graces bond did not last and Grace was left alone to raise their children. He visited occasionally, usually of holidays, to bring the children gifts. Grace supported her family by working as a cleaner for Linde Air Products. She eventually succumbed to Parkinson's disease at the age of 91.

Barb
Buffalo, NY
Amal
My name is Amal and I fled the fighting, violence and discrimination in my hometown Khartoum, Sudan in 2005 when I moved to Egypt. I stayed in Egypt for 15 years, where I worked as a housekeeper and nanny doing many different jobs and suffering under very poor working conditions. My life in Egypt was hard and I was discriminated against because I am Sudanese.

I finally moved to the United States when I was resettled in Buffalo, NY in 2017 by Journey’s End Refugee Services. I am so grateful to the Sudanese community and my resettlement agency for welcoming me to Buffalo. When I first arrived, any Sudanese people who heard I am new here came to my house to welcome me and my family and offer us support. All of my new friends showed me around, helping me find the market and where to do laundry. In my community, it does not matter which ethnicity you are, or if you are from the North or the South, because we are all Sudanese.
Insha’allah (God willing) Journey’s End will continue to grow as an agency and help more people like me.

Buffalo is like my country, because it rains often here and is hot during the summer. I learned that if you have a good coat and good boots for the snow, then the winter here is not so bad. The people in Buffalo are cool and interesting, and I am happy to call Buffalo my new home.

Amal
Buffalo, NY
On August 2010, a 16 year-old Nigerian boy made his way to Buffalo from Queens, New York for school and almost nine years later, hasn’t looked back. That was me, Richmond Wills although my friends commonly refer to me as “Richie”. I was born in Lagos Nigeria and moved to the United States when I was 10, thanks in large part to the efforts of my hard working mother who became a citizen by rites of marriage to a white man whom I would never come to know.

I discovered a passion for writing poetry that sustained me through high school and allowed me to voice my struggles. One was my very thick accent. I was bullied mercilessly. I absorbed as much as I could of how those around me spoke and behaved, an efficacious endeavor mimicking characters on American television shows and film. In 11th grade a fellow classmate asked why “I sounded white”.

Against the will of my mother I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo, as opposed to one of the “Holy Trinity” of career choices for a first generation child immigrant: Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer, the first I’m sure of many disappointments for my mother, but I persevered.

Upon graduation the appeal of moving back to New York City didn’t outweigh the thought of having to live once again in a traditional home with a mother who would not accept my sexuality. Buffalo became my new home as I cultivated a group of friends that would affirm and support me without prejudice, and continue to pursue my dreams as a creative, writer and community advocate. I never imagined I’d still be in the rust belt city almost nine years after moving to Buffalo, but it has become as much a part of me as my birthplace, shaped my identity in ways that influence the way I look at the world.

WE ARE BLACK ROSES
WITH PETALS AS DELICATE AS GENTLE RAIN
AND ROOTS SPREAD FARTHER THAN A CHRISTMAS SONG
BUT DO NOT PRESUME OUR SOFTNESS FOR WEAKNESS
OR OUR QUIETNESS FOR SILENCE
BECAUSE IN THE DARKNESS OF NIGHT OUR THORNS GROW STRONG AND DISCERNING FOR TRUTH
AND WHEN DAYBREAK COMES
ONLY THE TRUTH WILL SURVIVE

Richmond
Buffalo, NY
#makingbuffalohome
Making Buffalo Home is a two-year, in-depth WNED | WBFO engagement initiative to inform and raise awareness of immigration for our entire community. The project aims to help the region develop a better understanding of the shared opportunities and challenges we face together as long-time residents and new immigrants and refugees.

Making Buffalo Home is funded by Rich Products Corporation and Rich Family Foundation.