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Buford Highway Oral History Nonprofit Shifts To Fighting Hunger And Providing COVID-19 Relief

Buford Highway is known as an international melting pot with restaurants and businesses that represent cultures from all over the world. Many of the shopping center signs have multiple languages.
Buford Highway is known as an international melting pot with restaurants and businesses that represent cultures from all over the world. Many of the shopping center signs have multiple languages.
Credit Evey Wilson

The Buford Highway Corridor spans about 8 miles from Midtown Atlanta through Doraville to the DeKalb-Gwinnett line.

The corridor has been named Atlanta’s International Corridor by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, and is also home to thousands of small, family-owned businesses and restaurants.

It’s also an area of the city that’s been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Back in June, DeKalb officials reported the corridor made up more than 18% of the county’s confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Lily Pabian, executive director of a local nonprofit, We Love BuHi, said the economic affect of the pandemic hit local business owners.

She said some restaurant owners along the corridor have reported dips in revenue as high as 40% between January and March.

“This one particular owner, he was trying to take over his families business…” Pabian said. “He couldn’t make that pivot.”

In response, We Love BuHi, an organization that has traditionally focused on preserving oral history and urban advocacy work, has now shifted to fighting hunger and food insecurity, in coordination with other local nonprofits.

“In March, people were not interested in listening to stories. People were interested in surviving,” Pabian said.

Guest:

To hear the full conversation, click on the audio player above.