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Resident Houston asks: Would you want your family treated like black people in this city?
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Resident Houston asks: Would you want your family treated like black people in this city?

by Joseph KisselFebruary 3, 2017
Raises questions about the zoning of building at Corinthia and Trowbridge.

Steve Houston (above) addressed the Lockport Common Council on Wednesday during the public comment section of the meeting.

“Once again I’m here about the same issues: skin color, locational issues, racially biased intention, economic rape of the poverty stricken and the oppressed black community. “

“My first question is: how long does it take to notify the assessor’s office to find out who owns the property across from my house? To notify those people to either come out or the city is supposed to clean it up. I’ve been bringing this issue up for quite a while now and nothing has been done.”

“I get promises but nothing. The same thing with the tree in my yard. You were supposed to send out the superintendent of the streets department. You never did. You have certain people of color around certain wards — the black community — and we the black community are going to start holding them accountable. We see what they are doing for the white community but they have done nothing for the betterment of the black community. “

“And these are people who say they’re doing a good job? Good for who? Not for us.”

“One of the problems is that we have nobody in city hall that looks like me. I’m not saying are not qualified. I am sure they are well qualified. The problem is, we want somebody in city hall that looks like us. Somebody that we can go to and relate to. “

“I’m tired of paying taxes into a system that encourages the oppression of black people while giving every other ethnic group an opportunity to come into our community and economically rape us. They take the funds out but they put nothing back. They don’t hire our people. Yet still, you encourage and approve their practices. And that’s got to stop.”

“I asked you before about the building on Corinthia and Trowbridge. That property was empty for quite a few years. According to the city’s charter that was supposed to revert back to residential. It never did. Evidently, somebody made a backroom deal.”

“The recycling business is getting bigger and bigger. Has there been an impact study done? You cleaned up Waters Street but you’re dumping out there. That’s going to cause another problem down the road. That place is getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

“Some people say well maybe I shouldn’t talk about race. But I ask you, council and the people in the audience and the people watching on TV.  How many of you want your family members — wife, sisters, brothers, mother, father — to be treated like black people are this city, state or country? Let’s see a show of hands before I walk away. Anybody? Who would want that treatment for their family?”

Nobody raises a hand.

“We are tired of being dumped on,” said Steve Houston. “We are looking for opportunity and we get nothing. We get the old waiting game. We come down here with an issue and you never reply to anything. You put us on hold week after week and month after month and year after year.”

City clerk: One minute.

Houston: One minute … (pauses) I’ll be back. Thanks.

About The Author
Joseph Kissel
Joseph Kissel is a journalist, editor and photographer.
3 Comments
  • Anonymous
    February 5, 2017 at 2:44 am

    Aren’t we all one community? It’s nothing but perception . There’s no “black community” or a “white community”. There’s ONE COMMUNITY… … we are all one community. This issue has nothing to do with skin color. For “Mr Houston” to bring up race is his own personal observation. Everyone is treated equal and if he thinks it is a “race” thing is completely wrong. We all have problems with stuff going on in the “city” and none of the problems are about someone’s skin color. It sounds to me Mr Houston is racist himself against white people or in his words the “white community”. GROW UP MR HOUSTON WE ARE ONE COMMUNITY!!!

  • Anonymous Too
    February 7, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Since when has Lockport been one community???? How can you tell someone that if they believe that this is a racial issue, they are wrong. If you believe that this is one community, you must be deaf and blind!!. Your response was nonsense, go back to sleep.

  • Joseph DiPasquale
    February 17, 2017 at 7:02 am

    I applaud Mr. Houston’s courage in his attempt to shed light on the tale of the two cities of Lockport. I agree with Mr. Houston in his assertion that the African American citizens of Lockport (and other people of color) are severely underrepresented. It is time to start an honest dialogue about the fact that not every Lockportian is treated equally. Having grown up on the once culturally rich West End of Lockport as the proud son of two Italian immigrants, and now 30 years later living as an openly gay man with my partner of 26 years on the same street on which I grew up, I have been subjected to similar prejudicial double standards both then and now. This is America, and the last time I looked at a map Lockport was still within its borders. If you deny the overt racism and homophobia in Lockport, you’ve got your head in the proverbial sand. I stand with Mr. Houston in his demand to be heard in an effort to make our city stronger. How many people of color or openly gay or lesbian council members have there been in Lockport? Zero. That makes for a great starting point for a discussion that has been long overdue. Anonymous is right about one thing: Lockport belongs to ALL of us. Let’s start behaving like it does.

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