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Overcoming obstacles as a visually impaired man in Buffalo

Gun violence survivor hopes to inspire others
James knows Buffalo's streets by heart
Posted at 2:23 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 06:00:51-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Born and raised in the Queen City, Michael James knows the streets of the Bailey/Kensington area like the back of his hand. After losing his vision to gun violence, his path remains clear.

"People talk to me and say, 'man I can't imagine,' in actuality, you can imagine. If God put you in this situation I assume you wouldn't give up because I didn't give up," said James.

In 2013, he was at a Fourth of July party after an altercation with a close friend turned sour. He was shot two times in his upper abdomen.

"When I got to the hospital it was lights out, I woke up six weeks later visually impaired," said James. "I thought something was covering my eyes."

Nearly 10 years later, gun violence still plagues the city he loves.

"It saddens me. I have five kids: four girls, one boy. I just hope the city can get it together," said James.

These days, he focuses on inspiring others. He's a musician, with a song called "Warrior."

"What motivates me every day is waking up and having joy, peace and happiness. Being that I almost had my life taken, wake up and just be happy, you can't be sad," said James.

After recovering, he went back to school, becoming a certified chef. Using "time, temperature, touch and taste," he shares recipes on YouTube, from game day wings to Thanksgiving dinner.