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Pastor James Giles

Pastor James Giles, founder of Back-to-Basics Ministries in Buffalo, New York, embodies each pillar of the NFL's Inspire Change – Community Changemaker award through his dedication to criminal justice reform, youth education and mentoring, economic advancement, and police-community relations.  

Pastor James Giles founded the Back-to-Basics Outreach Ministries, Inc. in 1995 and has been responding to the needs of underserved communities in the City of Buffalo for over 25 years. The ministry is a centralized hub that provides services for at-risk individuals, families, and groups with their most immediate needs. The ministry offers a variety of services and opportunities for the local communities to get involved in, including the Buffalo Peacemakers Program, the Re-entry Program, the Transitional Housing Program, and the Youth Discovery Program.  

The Buffalo Peacemakers Youth Violence and Gang Intervention Program is a partnership and collaboration between the Buffalo Police and volunteers from the Back-to-Basics Ministries, the Buffalo United Front, Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S., and the Stop the Violence Coalition. Pastor Giles organized the Peacemakers with the primary goal of reducing the number of gang-related homicides and acts of violence in Buffalo. The Peacemakers mentor at-risk youth: run the Safe Passage program ensuring kids get to and from school safely; create a peaceful atmosphere at large community events and demonstrations; and teach restorative practices. The Peacemakers prioritize the relationship between the Buffalo Police and the community to help them respect, trust and understand each other. As the leader of the Buffalo Peacemakers, Pastor Giles proactively addresses violence in the lives of at-risk individuals, creating peace where the potential for violence exists. 

In the wake of the devastating shooting at Tops Market on May 14th, Pastor Giles served as a key leader in allocating resources for the East Buffalo community and bringing awareness to gun violence and injustice. On June 3rd, Pastor Giles received the proclamation on behalf of Back-to-Basics Ministries stating that June 3rd is The National Gun Violence Awareness Day in the City of Buffalo. Pastor Giles and the Buffalo Peacemakers continue to organize events in efforts to give back to the East Buffalo community. 

In Pastor Giles' work to mitigate violence and provide resources for the underserved communities, he has earned the trust of the residents of Buffalo and the Buffalo Police Department. We appreciate Pastor James Giles leadership and work to make our city safe, as well as his commitment to helping our city's vulnerable youth overcome obstacles and inequities.