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Home > City Departments > Law Department > Office of New Americans > ONA Initiatives

Office of New Americans Initiatives

New American Study Suggestion – Improve Language Access: Buffalo Police Department Language Access Plan, adopted on 2/29/2016


The plan sets policy for BPD members to utilize a number of interpretation services; Language Line telephone service, Bilingual BPD Members, Civilian Interpreters, and professional contract services, including in-person interpretation.


New American Study Suggestion – Improve Language Access & Improve Access to Adult Education: Court Interpreter Exam Preparation Course, announced 4/7/2016


Mayor Brown announced a new partnership between the City of Buffalo, New York State Unified Court System, and Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education Division to address the growing need in Buffalo and cites across the country for qualified court interpreters. The course aimed to prepare participants to take and pass the state exam.


New American Study Suggestion – Encourage Community Engagement Immigrant Heritage Month (June)


The City of Buffalo has recognized Immigrant Heritage Month for the past two years and plans to do so annually. In 2015 it was recognized for the first time with a proclamation on the steps of City Hall. In 2016, in addition to a proclamation presentation there was also an awards recognition ceremony. Members of the city’s refugee community that helped with the BPD language access plan were given certificates from Mayor Brown.

New American Study Suggestion – Encourage participation in Enrichment Programs: Mayor Brown’s Reading Rules! Kids Summer Reading Challenge & Summer Youth Employment


The Office of New Americans took two of Mayor Brown’s signature programs and developed communication aimed directly at the refugee and immigrant community encouraging them to participate.


New American Study Suggestion – Engage with the Police Department: Office of New Americans Community Meetings


Throughout 2015 the ONA held community meetings open to the refugee and immigrant community to speak with and have their questions answered by high ranking members of the Buffalo Police Department.BPD’s community police officers attend all community events that occur in their district and has never said no to attending a community meeting or workshop when requested.

AmeriCorp VISTA


The Office of New Americans added an AmeriCorp VISTA  staff member this fall. The VISTA is working towards the creation of a Refugee Speakers Bureau as well as assisting in the creation of two major ONA publications.


Welcoming Week 2015 & 2016 events


The Office of New Americans along with Mayor Byron W. Brown participated in a 2015 children’s naturalization ceremony in City Hall council chamber in celebration of welcoming week. This year Mayor Brown presented a proclamation declaring welcoming week in the City of Buffalo to Buffalo Public School (BPS) Superintendent Dr. Cash and certificated of appreciation and congratulations to Multilingual Education Staff and Cultural Resource Specialists. 

Community Events (throughout the year)

Mayor Brown regularly attends community events throughout the year and throughout different communities. Often times he provides a proclamation from the city and/or gives remarks. Some of the events he has done this for this past year are World Refugee Day, Burmese Flag Raising in remembrance of 8/8/88, and Karibu News One year anniversary.