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Recognizing the AACC

The African American Cultural Center was contacted in September about bringing a group of children to perform at the Roger Waters Concert (at HSBC Arena) on October 8, 2010. We did just that—provided a group of young people for the performance. The children, ranging from age 10 to 15 who are enrolled in the African American Cultural Center Educational Directives after school program, and/or members of the AACC Dance & Drum Performance Company.

On October 9, 2010 a wonderful photograph appeared in the Buffalo News of the children from the African American Cultural Center performing with Roger Waters during the concert. In the caption underneath the photo, the young people were identified only as “school children.” The photograph was taken by Buffalo News photographer Bill Wippert.

The HSBC Arena was sold to its capacity of 18,690 people for this event. The children from the AACC were a big part of the performance, yet the African American Cultural Center received no mention of the role we played in making that possible. The photographer never asked where the children were from; I consider this irresponsible on his part. There were only a few African Americans present backstage that night, all within the area where the photographs were being taken. How difficult could it have been to inquire as to who the youth were and who they were representing?

Normally I am not the type to be upset but this has to do with our agency and the service we provide to the Buffalo communities. Oversights such as this ultimately serve to diminish what we do in the perception of our funders.

I chose to send this editorial as opposed to asking for a correction to be placed in a column that nobody would read but the person asking for the correction. The African American Cultural Center has been in existence for 52 years and deserves at least as much respect as the city’s “Top 10” cultural arts organizations. We are known as the “Gatekeeper for Urban Generations” and are the first African American educational/cultural arts organization in the City of Buffalo and the County of Erie. Other Buffalo organizations of all kind call upon us consistently for the services we provide.

I would like to thank Jamie Moses, editor and publisher of Artvoice, for contacting us to participate in the “Live Nation National Tour”; and the parents who allowed their children to appear on stage at the HSBC Arena with Roger Waters.

Alicia M. Banner, Assistant Director, AACC

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