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In a new interview, Dolly Parton throws her support behind Black Lives Matter and reveals that she's writing her will.


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The city of Washington, D.C., is echoing a call for justice by ceremonially naming a road and painting an unmissable message on a street that leads to the White House: Black lives matter. A section of 16th Street in front of the White House is now ceremonially named Black Lives Matter Plaza, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Friday. Earlier, the…


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Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors requested a meeting with President-elect Joe Biden to discuss the movement's agenda and lay out expectations for the incoming administration.


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Many see the slogan Black Lives Matter as a plea to secure the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans, especially historically wronged African Americans. They add the BLM hashtag to their social-media profiles, carry BLM signs at protests, and make financial donations.


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For months, Black Lives Matter activists and their media supporters have said that business owners who saw their livelihoods destroyed during riots


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Aaron Finch has confirmed the team will not take the knee.


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A rugby fan has been banned from his club's stadium for praising a girl who refused to "take the knee" and criticising "Marxist extremism"


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Charles Leclerc is one of the F1 drivers who has opted against taking a knee before Grands Prix this season.


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On family WhatsApp groups and in Spanish-language media, misinformation paints 2020 as a zero-sum game.


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A set of five-year grants totaling $150 million will be used to support Black-led social justice groups.


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With the US dangerously divided, experts fear the president’s remarks will inspire armed factions to show up at polling places


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An SUV drove through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters on bicycles in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, a video captured on Saturday night shows.


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2020-11-27 16:17:34 UTC

How the movement that’s changing America was built and where it goes next


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The far-right Proud Boys brag they're close with police. Last week, Washington, D.C., police echoed their claim about a stabbing, only to retract it.


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Some came to the streets to dance. Others were moved to dance more spontaneously, and surprised to find themselves seen by millions online.


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Paxton K. Baker writes that it should not be difficult to say, Black Lives Matter. And yet there have been instances of people trying to delegitimize the movement, by answering the call -- to care about the lives of a race of people who have been systemically disenfranchised for centuries -- with "All Lives Matter."


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By Megan Alley Sun Reporter On June 14 in the village of Bethel, a Black Lives Matter demonstration erupted in violence when self-described “motorcycle gangs” comprised of counter-demonstrators…


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Protesters in support of Black Lives Matter were met with counter-protesters including an armed extremist anti-government group.


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"Trump: You're fired! Democracy saved! Thanks, Black voters!"


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Black Lives Matter is not one centralized organization, so why do people talk about it like it is?


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"We can't pick up these things just because it makes a good headline," Clyburn said. "Work on what makes headway, rather than what makes headlines."


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Journalist David Goodhart has defended ‘hostile environment’ measures and ‘white self-interest’


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The maker of "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" has added a screen to the shooter game supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, after revealing that it is banning thousands of racist player names every day.


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The new HBO series, Lovecraft Country, is one of the best shows of 2020 and a must-watch for Black sci-fi and fantasy fans and newbies alike.


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"A big part of the conversations that I had to have often was that even though things were well-intended, that didn't make it any less wrong or impactful," one Black activist said.


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The museum has faced widespread criticism after announcing an exhibition primarily featuring artworks purchased from Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 benefit sales.


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A protest in Annapolis was held Saturday morning to honor Black lives lost to police brutality and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington D.C.


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Although activists have been campaigning for the companies to do this for years, the Black Lives Matter movement appears to have tipped the scale.


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From California to South Korea.


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Editorial: An American death has sparked global protest and confronted other countries with uncomfortable truths


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Beijing’s propaganda use of the anti-racism movement risks backfiring.


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Law enforcement used images pulled off Twitter, combined with a facial recognition system, to identify a protester.


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'This Is Us' creator Dan Fogelman explains how season 5's story lines will incorporate the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.


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2020-11-27 20:39:47 UTC

Rolling Stone spent a day documenting the stories behind the personal messages held high by demonstrators at Black Lives Matter rallies in Manhattan and Brooklyn


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2020-11-27 20:39:58 UTC

Rolling Stone spent a day documenting the stories behind the personal messages held high by demonstrators at Black Lives Matter rallies in Manhattan and Brooklyn


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New momentum is bringing old conversations about race, tattooing, and the trouble with desaturated Instagram feeds back to the forefront.


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Frustrations surrounding abuse of police powers and the lack of genuine accountability are growing in our community as well as across the country. The 1,000 Man March in Annapolis on Saturday, Sept. 19 will protest for equity and accountability in government, particularly in policing. You may ask, “Why march?”


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The controversy around BLM fashion highlights the systemic racism that the movement is trying to change


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As demonstrations against police brutality roiled the country earlier this year, Antoine Mickle began noticing the flags going up in his Florida neighborhood declaring “Blue Lives Matter."


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As the nation continues to grapple with protests related to systemic racism and police brutality, celebrities far and wide have donated their hard-earned cash to causes related to the Black Lives Matter movement.


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Attucks was arguably the first casualty in the country's struggle for independence from Britain. Like George Floyd, Attucks was in his mid-40s when he died at the hands of a white man.


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The NFL Show's Jason Bell and Osi Umenyiora say players should have the right to choose whether or not to protest to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.


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Website: theverge.com
2020-11-07 21:28:57 UTC

How people came together to preserve the street art made during protests and pandemic


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The BFI and BBC lead the way in archive documentaries and dramas that have now become essential historical studies


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Several people in a Piedmont neighborhood say they’re disturbed and disappointed after a vandal targeted Black Lives Matter signs more than a half a dozen times recently.


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On Wednesday, more than 100 people peacefully protested on sidewalks at the intersection of Route 108 and Georgia Avenue in Olney, holding Black Lives Matter signs. As cars drove by, several drivers waved and honked their horns supportively. Here are some images from the peaceful protest: And here are even more images on MyMCMedia’s Instagram: …


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$10.6B+ Was Given To Black Lives Matter Causes: Where Did The Money Go?


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Police violence spurred a nationwide wave of protests, calls for racial justice and support for the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. Now, the question is whether that energy will translate into votes in the November election.


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Jeremy Tardy, who has been recurring on Netflix’s Dear White People, revealed in a Facebook post Friday that he will not be returning for the Lionsgate TV-produced series’ upcoming four…


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"My skin shouldn't be a death sentence."


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One of Britain’s oldest churches is paying tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement by installing a version of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” with Jesus recast as a…


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With Melina Abdullah and Patrisse Cullors playing key roles, Black Lives Matter has transformed from a small but passionate movement into a cultural and political phenomenon.


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“I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done.”—John Brown on the morning of his death, December 2nd, 1859 The 1859 public execution of John Brown—the 19th century American abolitionist put to death for taking up arms in an attempt to rid the country of slavery—was attended by men, including Stonewall Jackson and John Wilkes Booth, who would go on to make a much larger dent in textbooks. Yet, as America currently faces a social uprising unsatisfied with political lip service, John Brown’s spirit marches through the consciousness of the country that had him executed. Based on the 2013 novel by James McBride, Blumhouse Television’s The Good Lord Bird follows John Brown (played by series co-creator Ethan Hawke), a band of outsiders—many of whom are his kin—and a runaway slave known as Onion (Joshua Caleb Johnson) as they liberate enslaved men and women, often at the expense of massive bloodshed spewed from their slain white masters. Something of a realist, Brown knew that no passive, peaceful act would ever put an end to the cruelty of America’s original sin, so he took up arms. Told over seven episodes, the series is currently airing on Showtime, its finale set for this Sunday evening.  Numerous historical figures pop up throughout the series, including Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. Douglass makes his entrance in episode three (appropriately titled “Mister Fred”) in an electric performance by Tony Award winner Daveed Diggs and directed by Darnell Martin. Martin, whose directorial credits include features (Cadillac Records, I Like It Like That) and a robust selection of television series (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, New Amsterdam, The Walking Dead, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist), brings to her episode an attentive eye toward performance and a knowledgeable background in African-American history.  A few days after her episode made its world premiere, I spoke with Martin about her personal familial history to John Brown, her adoration of Frederick Douglass and resistance toward “tone meetings,” and how the series currently speaks to America at large.  Filmmaker: I heard a story recently about Vincent D'Onofrio recommending you to Ethan Hawke about potentially directing an episode of The Good Lord Bird. Was that your way into this project? Martin: 100%. Vincent and I had worked together quite a bit and he had heard that Ethan was looking to hire people of color to direct The Good Lord Bird. It turned out to be one of the best television experiences I’ve had and much of that has to do with (in addition to being a wonderful actor) Ethan being one of the writers and executive producers on the series. We were able to rehearse and play around a bit with the shape of the story. I'm never precious when it comes to screenplays. They are blueprints for the story, but the location you’re shooting in, where you place the camera and what each of the actors brings to it will ultimately create something different than what’s exclusively on the page.  Filmmaker: Did you choose to direct the third episode specifically? Martin: I hadn’t, and originally I didn’t even know which episode was going to be mine. Much of that has to do with the availability of each of the filmmakers and the shooting dates that have been set in place. I had a specific window of availability, as did a few other directors on the series. I should back up to say that I was obsessed with John Brown before this project even came to me. Before I knew who was even involved, my agent called and said “They're interested in you for this John Brown project” and I said,


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Just one black cyclist started the 2020 Tour de France out of 22 teams and 176 riders.


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Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken sat down with TV20 to discuss former Chief Greg Graham's legacy, community relations, the Black Lives Matter movement, defunding the police and more.


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Employees and customers take issue with Starbucks internal memo.


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Many consumers, stylists, makeup artists and creators are calling on manufacturers and retailers to do more to fight racism.


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Tiger Woods said he put safety first in deciding not to play much during the coronavirus pandemic.


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Denice Rich was once described as a millionaire property baroness.


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A Black Lives Matter march for essential workers part of “Black Friday” protests across Seattle ended with arrests Friday night at Denny and E Olive Way on Capitol Hill. A group marchin…


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In continuation of his dream focused works intended to inspire the black youth of our world, the former MLB athlete (Dodgers, White Sox, Braves) turned artist, Micah Johnson, selected two children who have experienced great tragedy in their lives (Jacque 8, Rayden 7) as the subject matter of a groundbreaking blockchain art installment entitled ˈsä-v(ə-)rən-tē (sovereignty), a programmable digital artwork depicting the two youths standing in a field before an astronaut suit and a door. The work, a time sensitive programmable photograph, is being made available for purchase as a NFT (Non-Fungible Token) via the innovative blockchain-based art platform Async Art on the blockchain on Oct. 29, 2020.


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When you look around at small retail businesses along various streets in Buffalo, there's something you should consider. Each of the business owners is a community activist in one way or another. These business owners act as the "glue" on the street. They are also the "eyes" on the street, as well a


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Long Island native Weldon Ervin is counting on a change of scenery and the love of his young family to permanently put a decade of criminal activity and confusion in the rear view mirror. Ervin, 28, is a resident of the Village of Le Roy now, living at the home of the Bianchi family. He and his girlfriend, Chelsea Bianchi, have two children together -- 2-year-old son, Nicola (Nico, for short), and 1-year-old daughter, Alani. He is a black man in a rural community with a minority population of 1.7 percent – a far cry from the diverse mix that he encountered growing up in the shadow of New York City. He also is a participant on the Le Roy Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, a 15-member committee formed in compliance with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 203, accepting the invitation of Police Chief Chris Hayward, whom he considers a close friend. Hayward got to know Ervin through his relationship with Bianchi’s parents – his longtime neighbors – and believed that Ervin’s life experience would enhance the group’s discussion and help shape the reform plan that has to be submitted to New York State by April 1. Chief: Ervin Would Be An Ideal Candidate “Being a small community, it’s not your exposure to law enforcement, I guess, that people of color deal with in larger communities,” Hayward said. “And Weldon being from Long Island has had some experience with law enforcement and also the criminal justice system, so that’s why I felt that he would be an ideal candidate to be on the reform committee to give his insight on some important issues.” The governor’s mandate requires municipal police agencies to review policies and procedures, and adopt a plan that addresses, “the particular needs of the communities served by such police agency and promote community engagement to foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy, and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.” The Le Roy committee’s next meeting is scheduled for this Tuesday. The Batavian sat down with Ervin and Hayward at Le Roy Village Hall last week to talk about the former’s life experiences and, more importantly, what he has learned from those experiences. Without question, Ervin’s road to Le Roy was a rocky one, marred by short stints and long stays in penal institutions in New York City, Long Island, and the counties of Westchester, Greene and Seneca. All told, he spent 10 years behind bars – not all at once, but in and out due, in part, to prescription drug addiction, a troubled childhood and a rebellious attitude. He became entrenched in the criminal justice system and, after more trials and tribulations, his time on parole ended and he found his way to what is proving to be a more serene existence in the Genesee Region. Growing Up Without His Father “I was born in Hempstead, Long Island, and I just found that out when I saw my birth certificate recently and then we relocated to Far Rockaway, Queens,” said Ervin, who with his three brothers was raised by his mother. “My dad (Weldon Ervin Sr.) wasn’t really in my life.” With no father in the home, that put a lot of pressure on his mom to raise Ervin, his brother, Cedric, 27, and stepbrothers, Norell, 19, and Avery, 14. And being the oldest, much of the duties of caring for the younger siblings fell upon Weldon, who had was dealing with other issues. “I saw a lot of anger in my mom; the strife toward my dad was taken out on me,” he said. “There was a little abuse growing up, from what I can remember it was physical, verbal and emotional. I still love my mother and I can’t hold it against her. She made sure we were in the right schools and had good clothes.” Ervin said his mom was an excellent athlete, competing in basketball, soccer and volleyball, and she instilled that love of sports into him. “My mom taught us the fundamentals of things,” he said. “We went to sports camps. My favorite sport is baseball, then basketball and then football. My late grandfather loved baseball. We used to go to his house every Saturday and Sunday. He would teach us how to play baseball and things that we could shape the game of baseball in our own way.” Mom Sacrificed For Her Children Ervin said his mother, who lives in Long Island, sacrificed a lot for her him and his brothers, sending Ervin to Bethel Christian Academy in Jamaica, Queens, from first through eighth grade – and working three jobs in order to cover the bill. “My mom was a social worker – still is – working at an all-female group home, and we took the bus – and it was tiring. I remember one time seeing the tuition and it was $5,200. I was, like, wow. Certain times she said we couldn’t go to school for a day or so, and I guess that was because she needed time to get the money to pay the tuition,” he said. Ervin said he didn’t have much of a relationship with his stepfather and had to learn how to gauge the mood of his mother to avoid confrontation. “He tried, but I really didn’t let him in. Growing up from the abuse, when you come home from playing outside and then you’re like, I had to analyze my mom to see what kinds of day she was having because that would predict would kind of night I would have,” he said. “I had to come into the house and just watch my mom. She would read her Bible, and I would say, all right, she’s done this before. I know how she would act and I know when something was troubling her.” He said it was tough on him to watch after his brothers while his mother worked the third shift. “I was the caretaker of my brothers. When they woke up, they’re asking me, ‘Where is mommy?’ I’d say, ‘Mommy’s at work. You want some chips?’ We would eat chips and watch TV.” Prescription Drugs Take Their Toll The grind took its toll on Ervin and soon he was seeing a psychiatrist and taking Klonopin to help him behave in school. “My mom should have taken the initiative and said no (to this),” he said. He was 12 or 13 years old at the time. From there, he was prescribed Xanax as he entered Lawrence High School on Long Island, thrusting him into an environment of different races and opportunities. “It was just different. It was very diverse. You had 30-percent black, 30-percent white, 30-percent Spanish and 10-percent miscellaneous. I said, this is all right,” he recalled. Before long, however, he had hooked up with a classmate and he was selling some of his Xanax pills. “We spoke business. But I didn’t know any different. I figured I didn’t need this much – here. Money. Thank you,” he said. Soon thereafter, at the age of 16, he had his first encounter with the law. One of his friends stole some guns from another friend’s house and was arrested. A week later, after being implicated by one of the others, Ervin was charged with third-degree burglary, a Class C felony. “I told them that I didn’t have any guns and I didn’t sell any. (But) I was there and now I was a part of it,” he said. Jail Time And Placed On Probation He received a jail sentence of six months and was put on probation for five years. Thanks to a letter from a school counselor, he served only 20 days. That was just the beginning of Ervin’s legal problems, however. While on probation – and in the throes of his Xanax addiction – he stole something from the church where he attended in Far Rockaway, but said he doesn’t remember it. “I then was sent to Rikers Island (an island in the East River between Queens and the Bronx that is home to New York City's main jail complex),” he said. Hayward was quick to interject: “That’s not a good place.” Ervin’s lawyer got him out due to his drug addiction and the 17-year-old was sent to a program at Phoenix House in Westchester County. “I was a follower back then,” he said. “When I got to Phoenix House, I began to sell cigarettes. I didn’t smoke cigarettes, so it was all profit. With my frequent court and probation appearances, I was able to bring cigarettes and tobacco back (into the rehab center).” Failing to focus on his recovery or school, Ervin said he rebelled and just thought about getting back on the street. He ended up being kicked out of the program after three months. His Anger Would ‘Go Through The Roof’ All the while, he increased the amount of Xanax he was taking in an effort to control his rage. “If I couldn’t get my Xanax, my anger would go through the roof,” he said, recalling that he slapped one of his brothers for drinking his grape juice. In January 2010, Ervin was charged with grand larceny and ended up serving 13 months in Nassau County Jail, and after that, an incident involving an MS-13 gang member resulted in a 22-month stay at Coxsackie Correctional Facility in Greene County. Ervin’s account of the latter situation indicated that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. “One day, one night, me and my friend were walking with his girl and his cousin,” he said. “In that area, a lot of Hispanics don’t get along with blacks and there’s a lot of MS-13 down there. We’re walking and we see them. I don’t have any problems with these people. I am not the kind of person who beats people up.” He said the MS-13 guy “acts like he has something concealed, but he’s just a poser. My boy runs to him – says I can take everything from you right now -- and the guy takes off running.” As it turned out, the MS-13 member accused them of stealing from him and brandishing a 12-inch kitchen knife, and Ervin was charged with several counts related to robbery and attempted robbery. Ervin, then 19, was placed in a lineup, went to trial and was found guilty of second-degree attempted robbery and sentenced to three and a half years at Coxsackie Correctional Facility. He served 22 months. Obtaining His GED While Behind Bars While in Nassau County Jail, Ervin obtained his GED (General Education Development certification) and he served as a teacher’s assistant at Greene. “I was just doing it to stay sharp in the books, and I also started working out and got a job in the rec yard to work out more. In the winter, I got a job in the gym to keep my mind off of everything,” he said. His jail time wasn’t over, however, as he was incarcerated on and off over the past six years for parole violations, serving time at Willard Drug Treatment Facility in the Town of Romulus, Seneca County and, lastly, in Nassau County. “Last year was my first birthday since I was 19 that I was home for my birthday,” he said, adding that his final day in jail was June 17 of this year. After meeting Chelsea in 2017 through a friend of a friend, he said, he attempted to switch his parole to this area, hoping to live with her in an apartment in Perry. Although the landlord was fine with it, the parole board had different ideas. “When you transfer, they would have to tell you (the person that I would be staying with) my record,” he said. “So, they told her this and that, and she said, ‘that’s all right.’ But they just basically said no.” Problems With The Parole Board Ervin said the parole officer tried to change Chelsea’s mind and they eventually convinced the landlord that he was “this horrible person.” His plan to live in Perry fell through. According to Hayward, a parole board’s handling of these situations is part of the problem. “Once these folks get into the criminal justice system, I sometimes don’t think there is the desire on the part of parole or other persons to want to get them out,” he said. “It’s been my experience for as long as I have been a cop, that once somebody gets in the criminal justice system, pretty much they stay there because of stuff like this. They want to keep them in that system and not give them the opportunity to make things better.” Hayward said it is a systemic issue, but he doesn’t believe it is assigned to any specific race. Ervin said he thinks the parole board doesn’t take the initiative to look at how a person has progressed when they evaluate placement. “It’s your job to help my get back into the community as a human being and help me understand that this is the right way to live,” he said. “If you looked at my record, you’ve seen that everything happened in Long Island. Why wouldn’t you want me to come up here? Is it because of my race? Is he going to cause problems? Or, you know what, we can give him a chance; maybe this can help him.” Hayward said he was rebuffed by the parole officer when he tried to help Ervin get a transfer to this area. “When they were trying to get him up here, I actually spoke with the parole officer who was doing the investigation and it was not a positive conversation at all. I really was taken aback by it,” he said. “I’ve known Chelsea’s parents for quite some time, we’ve been neighbors for about 20 years. They’re good, solid people, and that’s where Weldon was going to be living.” Happy To Live A ‘Boring Life’ Ervin admitted that he was a persistent parole violator, but is excited to report that his time on parole is over, he’s not on any mandated programs and he’s happy to live what Hayward called “a boring life” with Chelsea, who is studying to be a nurse, and the children in Le Roy. When asked if he still is on medication, Ervin said he takes something to help him sleep at times, but that “my kids are my addiction now.” “My anxiety, I deal with it. My kids are my support … even if I have a thought of something, it will never turn into action,” he said. “If I have a thought, ‘I wonder what’s going on in Long Island?’ it doesn’t matter because I will be having to dodge a toy thrown by Nico, and say, ‘OK, I’m not going to Long Island.’ ” He said he understands his role on the Le Roy Police Reform Collaborative and seeks to share his input and what he has been through to committee members and the general public who may not be aware of some aspects of the criminal justice system. “I’ve lost time that I can’t get back, but to be on this committee is a good opportunity. It’s my experience. It is my story and I feel like if my experience can help someone else or someone else can see that this place is a very good place compared to other places, then I think that can be very beneficial.” Ervin spoke about the next generation and the importance of teaching them and the need to “keep evolving and evolving.” Surprised To Hear About Le Roy’s SRO He said he was surprised to learn that Le Roy Central District has a school resource officer (Sean Ancker) who interacts with students in a positive way. “And he’s not dressed like a cop,” he said. “When I would go to school, I would see cops in vests – kids were getting put on a wall and being searched because maybe they had a button on their jeans and it (metal detector) kept ringing. It’s not welcoming because that was the first thing you’d see when you went to school. That creates fear.” Hayward said Ervin has demonstrated that he wants to be a good father and role model. “What happened in the past needs to be in the past. And he doesn’t need me as a police officer or anybody else in law enforcement to be constantly reminding him of his past. I am going to judge him for who he is now and not for what he was then,” he said. The chief said children aren’t born not liking blacks or not liking whites, and said it is up to the parents to set them on the proper course. “My granddaughters come up and visit, and go out – and when my youngest granddaughter goes out and talks to Nico out in the backyard, she’s not looking at him as a little black boy, she’s looking at another little boy her age. And that’s how it is supposed to be.” Ervin said he has made some new friends -- they are Chelsea’s friends – but does keep tabs on friends in Long Island through social media. He said that after years of hustling, scheming and fighting, he’s managed to find peace in his life. “I just came to the realization that what I was doing in the past wasn’t working,” he said. “Where I was at is not it. But I am proud in that through my upbringing and the abuse and the Xanax, I have been able to become the man who I am. I’m sure someone can relate to my story … I’m not alone. Hopefully, my story can help somebody else.” Photo: Weldon Ervin, left; Le Roy Police Chief Chris Hayward and Le Roy Police Sgt. Greg Kellogg. Photo by Mike Pettinella.


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Rep.-elect Cori Bush, the first Black Lives Matter activist to serve in Congress, has landed a high-profile job on the powerful House Judiciary Committee.


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Various commentators say it's 'unfair' to expect the likes of Adam Goodes to educate Australian cricketers on racism.


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A Texas family woke up last Wednesday to find their two cars lit on fire, and “Trump 20” spray-painted on their home after putting a “Black Lives Matter” sign on their yard.…


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With the pandemic raging and social movements such as Black Lives Matter around us, two artists find inspiration for paintings that are thought-provoking and, in their honesty and skillful executio…


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Writer: Cliffordkuju Henry Director: Victoria Evaristo Set at the time of the Black Lives Matter protest and the English Defence League marches in the summer, Cliffordkuju Henry’s new play In Search of a White Identity is a 30-minute exploration of how the personal and political interact. By putting two old friends together in a cell …


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A new Black-owned bank, Greenwood, is poised to break through, thanks to online technology and the persistence of the Black Lives Matter movement.


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At least four people were stabbed near Black Lives Matter Plaza, about four blocks from the White House, and there were 33 unrelated arrests.


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Marketers from Fishawack Health and HealthPrize Technologies discuss behavioral marketing and immersive technology.


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At least four people were stabbed near Black Lives Matter Plaza, about four blocks from the White House, and there were 33 unrelated arrests.


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Little Red Rioting Hood is off the hook: Prosecutors dropped rioting charges against Clara Kraebber, the 20-year-old daughter of privilege busted during a Black Lives Matter rally-cum-rampage. The …


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Deon Jones hasn't protested since he was shot in the face by a police projectile in May. He's suing L.A. in an effort to ban such weapons at protests.


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What most Californians will remember about summer 2020 will be George Floyd and the protests over racial injustice. But will the movement survive?


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Stronger than Homelander?


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The coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have become the year’s top stories.


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An expert view brought to you by our XR Panel of artists and storytellers who create in virtual reality and augmented reality


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It will also donate to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund following its Black Lives Matter controversy.


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The activists vowed to continue protesting and said the Tampa Police Department is favoring pro-police demonstrators as tensions mount.


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Speaking to Samantha Bee, the Missouri Rep.-elect and Black Lives Matter activist shared her views on how progressives can work with establishment Democr...


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Long Island native Weldon Ervin is counting on a change of scenery and the love of his young family to permanently put a decade of criminal activity and confusion in the rear view mirror. Ervin, 28, is a resident of the Village of Le Roy now, living at the home of the Bianchi family. He and his girlfriend, Chelsea Bianchi, have two children together -- 2-year-old son, Nicola (Nico, for short), and 1-year-old daughter, Alani. He is a black man in a rural community with a minority population of 1.7 percent – a far cry from the diverse mix that he encountered growing up in the shadow of New York City. He also is a participant on the Le Roy Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, a 15-member committee formed in compliance with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 203, accepting the invitation of Police Chief Chris Hayward, whom he considers a close friend. Hayward got to know Ervin through his relationship with Bianchi’s parents – his longtime neighbors – and believed that Ervin’s life experience would enhance the group’s discussion and help shape the reform plan that has to be submitted to New York State by April 1. Chief: Ervin Would Be An Ideal Candidate “Being a small community, it’s not your exposure to law enforcement, I guess, that people of color deal with in larger communities,” Hayward said. “And Weldon being from Long Island has had some experience with law enforcement and also the criminal justice system, so that’s why I felt that he would be an ideal candidate to be on the reform committee to give his insight on some important issues.” The governor’s mandate requires municipal police agencies to review policies and procedures, and adopt a plan that addresses, “the particular needs of the communities served by such police agency and promote community engagement to foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy, and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.” The Le Roy committee’s next meeting is scheduled for this Tuesday. The Batavian sat down with Ervin and Hayward at Le Roy Village Hall last week to talk about the former’s life experiences and, more importantly, what he has learned from those experiences. Without question, Ervin’s road to Le Roy was a rocky one, marred by short stints and long stays in penal institutions in New York City, Long Island, and the counties of Westchester, Greene and Seneca. All told, he spent 10 years behind bars – not all at once, but in and out due, in part, to prescription drug addiction, a troubled childhood and a rebellious attitude. He became entrenched in the criminal justice system and, after more trials and tribulations, his time on parole ended and he found his way to what is proving to be a more serene existence in the Genesee Region. Growing Up Without His Father “I was born in Hempstead, Long Island, and I just found that out when I saw my birth certificate recently and then we relocated to Far Rockaway, Queens,” said Ervin, who with his three brothers was raised by his mother. “My dad (Weldon Ervin Sr.) wasn’t really in my life.” With no father in the home, that put a lot of pressure on his mom to raise Ervin, his brother, Cedric, 27, and stepbrothers, Norell, 19, and Avery, 14. And being the oldest, much of the duties of caring for the younger siblings fell upon Weldon, who had was dealing with other issues. “I saw a lot of anger in my mom; the strife toward my dad was taken out on me,” he said. “There was a little abuse growing up, from what I can remember it was physical, verbal and emotional. I still love my mother and I can’t hold it against her. She made sure we were in the right schools and had good clothes.” Ervin said his mom was an excellent athlete, competing in basketball, soccer and volleyball, and she instilled that love of sports into him. “My mom taught us the fundamentals of things,” he said. “We went to sports camps. My favorite sport is baseball, then basketball and then football. My late grandfather loved baseball. We used to go to his house every Saturday and Sunday. He would teach us how to play baseball and things that we could shape the game of baseball in our own way.” Mom Sacrificed For Her Children Ervin said his mother, who lives in Long Island, sacrificed a lot for her him and his brothers, sending Ervin to Bethel Christian Academy in Jamaica, Queens, from first through eighth grade – and working three jobs in order to cover the bill. “My mom was a social worker – still is – working at an all-female group home, and we took the bus – and it was tiring. I remember one time seeing the tuition and it was $5,200. I was, like, wow. Certain times she said we couldn’t go to school for a day or so, and I guess that was because she needed time to get the money to pay the tuition,” he said. Ervin said he didn’t have much of a relationship with his stepfather and had to learn how to gauge the mood of his mother to avoid confrontation. “He tried, but I really didn’t let him in. Growing up from the abuse, when you come home from playing outside and then you’re like, I had to analyze my mom to see what kinds of day she was having because that would predict would kind of night I would have,” he said. “I had to come into the house and just watch my mom. She would read her Bible, and I would say, all right, she’s done this before. I know how she would act and I know when something was troubling her.” He said it was tough on him to watch after his brothers while his mother worked the third shift. “I was the caretaker of my brothers. When they woke up, they’re asking me, ‘Where is mommy?’ I’d say, ‘Mommy’s at work. You want some chips?’ We would eat chips and watch TV.” Prescription Drugs Take Their Toll The grind took its toll on Ervin and soon he was seeing a psychiatrist and taking Klonopin to help him behave in school. “My mom should have taken the initiative and said no (to this),” he said. He was 12 or 13 years old at the time. From there, he was prescribed Xanax as he entered Lawrence High School on Long Island, thrusting him into an environment of different races and opportunities. “It was just different. It was very diverse. You had 30-percent black, 30-percent white, 30-percent Spanish and 10-percent miscellaneous. I said, this is all right,” he recalled. Before long, however, he had hooked up with a classmate and he was selling some of his Xanax pills. “We spoke business. But I didn’t know any different. I figured I didn’t need this much – here. Money. Thank you,” he said. Soon thereafter, at the age of 16, he had his first encounter with the law. One of his friends stole some guns from another friend’s house and was arrested. A week later, after being implicated by one of the others, Ervin was charged with third-degree burglary, a Class C felony. “I told them that I didn’t have any guns and I didn’t sell any. (But) I was there and now I was a part of it,” he said. Jail Time And Placed On Probation He received a jail sentence of six months and was put on probation for five years. Thanks to a letter from a school counselor, he served only 20 days. That was just the beginning of Ervin’s legal problems, however. While on probation – and in the throes of his Xanax addiction – he stole something from the church where he attended in Far Rockaway, but said he doesn’t remember it. “I then was sent to Rikers Island (an island in the East River between Queens and the Bronx that is home to New York City's main jail complex),” he said. Hayward was quick to interject: “That’s not a good place.” Ervin’s lawyer got him out due to his drug addiction and the 17-year-old was sent to a program at Phoenix House in Westchester County. “I was a follower back then,” he said. “When I got to Phoenix House, I began to sell cigarettes. I didn’t smoke cigarettes, so it was all profit. With my frequent court and probation appearances, I was able to bring cigarettes and tobacco back (into the rehab center).” Failing to focus on his recovery or school, Ervin said he rebelled and just thought about getting back on the street. He ended up being kicked out of the program after three months. His Anger Would ‘Go Through The Roof’ All the while, he increased the amount of Xanax he was taking in an effort to control his rage. “If I couldn’t get my Xanax, my anger would go through the roof,” he said, recalling that he slapped one of his brothers for drinking his grape juice. In January 2010, Ervin was charged with grand larceny and ended up serving 13 months in Nassau County Jail, and after that, an incident involving an MS-13 gang member resulted in a 22-month stay at Coxsackie Correctional Facility in Greene County. Ervin’s account of the latter situation indicated that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. “One day, one night, me and my friend were walking with his girl and his cousin,” he said. “In that area, a lot of Hispanics don’t get along with blacks and there’s a lot of MS-13 down there. We’re walking and we see them. I don’t have any problems with these people. I am not the kind of person who beats people up.” He said the MS-13 guy “acts like he has something concealed, but he’s just a poser. My boy runs to him – says I can take everything from you right now -- and the guy takes off running.” As it turned out, the MS-13 member accused them of stealing from him and brandishing a 12-inch kitchen knife, and Ervin was charged with several counts related to robbery and attempted robbery. Ervin, then 19, was placed in a lineup, went to trial and was found guilty of second-degree attempted robbery and sentenced to three and a half years at Coxsackie Correctional Facility. He served 22 months. Obtaining His GED While Behind Bars While in Nassau County Jail, Ervin obtained his GED (General Education Development certification) and he served as a teacher’s assistant at Greene. “I was just doing it to stay sharp in the books, and I also started working out and got a job in the rec yard to work out more. In the winter, I got a job in the gym to keep my mind off of everything,” he said. His jail time wasn’t over, however, as he was incarcerated on and off over the past six years for parole violations, serving time at Willard Drug Treatment Facility in the Town of Romulus, Seneca County and, lastly, in Nassau County. “Last year was my first birthday since I was 19 that I was home for my birthday,” he said, adding that his final day in jail was June 17 of this year. After meeting Chelsea in 2017 through a friend of a friend, he said, he attempted to switch his parole to this area, hoping to live with her in an apartment in Perry. Although the landlord was fine with it, the parole board had different ideas. “When you transfer, they would have to tell you (the person that I would be staying with) my record,” he said. “So, they told her this and that, and she said, ‘that’s all right.’ But they just basically said no.” Problems With The Parole Board Ervin said the parole officer tried to change Chelsea’s mind and they eventually convinced the landlord that he was “this horrible person.” His plan to live in Perry fell through. According to Hayward, a parole board’s handling of these situations is part of the problem. “Once these folks get into the criminal justice system, I sometimes don’t think there is the desire on the part of parole or other persons to want to get them out,” he said. “It’s been my experience for as long as I have been a cop, that once somebody gets in the criminal justice system, pretty much they stay there because of stuff like this. They want to keep them in that system and not give them the opportunity to make things better.” Hayward said it is a systemic issue, but he doesn’t believe it is assigned to any specific race. Ervin said he thinks the parole board doesn’t take the initiative to look at how a person has progressed when they evaluate placement. “It’s your job to help my get back into the community as a human being and help me understand that this is the right way to live,” he said. “If you looked at my record, you’ve seen that everything happened in Long Island. Why wouldn’t you want me to come up here? Is it because of my race? Is he going to cause problems? Or, you know what, we can give him a chance; maybe this can help him.” Hayward said he was rebuffed by the parole officer when he tried to help Ervin get a transfer to this area. “When they were trying to get him up here, I actually spoke with the parole officer who was doing the investigation and it was not a positive conversation at all. I really was taken aback by it,” he said. “I’ve known Chelsea’s parents for quite some time, we’ve been neighbors for about 20 years. They’re good, solid people, and that’s where Weldon was going to be living.” Happy To Live A ‘Boring Life’ Ervin admitted that he was a persistent parole violator, but is excited to report that his time on parole is over, he’s not on any mandated programs and he’s happy to live what Hayward called “a boring life” with Chelsea, who is studying to be a nurse, and the children in Le Roy. When asked if he still is on medication, Ervin said he takes something to help him sleep at times, but that “my kids are my addiction now.” “My anxiety, I deal with it. My kids are my support … even if I have a thought of something, it will never turn into action,” he said. “If I have a thought, ‘I wonder what’s going on in Long Island?’ it doesn’t matter because I will be having to dodge a toy thrown by Nico, and say, ‘OK, I’m not going to Long Island.’ ” He said he understands his role on the Le Roy Police Reform Collaborative and seeks to share his input and what he has been through to committee members and the general public who may not be aware of some aspects of the criminal justice system. “I’ve lost time that I can’t get back, but to be on this committee is a good opportunity. It’s my experience. It is my story and I feel like if my experience can help someone else or someone else can see that this place is a very good place compared to other places, then I think that can be very beneficial.” Ervin spoke about the next generation and the importance of teaching them and the need to “keep evolving and evolving.” Surprised To Hear About Le Roy’s SRO He said he was surprised to learn that Le Roy Central District has a school resource officer (Sean Ancker) who interacts with students in a positive way. “And he’s not dressed like a cop,” he said. “When I would go to school, I would see cops in vests – kids were getting put on a wall and being searched because maybe they had a button on their jeans and it (metal detector) kept ringing. It’s not welcoming because that was the first thing you’d see when you went to school. That creates fear.” Hayward said Ervin has demonstrated that he wants to be a good father and role model. “What happened in the past needs to be in the past. And he doesn’t need me as a police officer or anybody else in law enforcement to be constantly reminding him of his past. I am going to judge him for who he is now and not for what he was then,” he said. The chief said children aren’t born not liking blacks or not liking whites, and said it is up to the parents to set them on the proper course. “My granddaughters come up and visit, and go out – and when my youngest granddaughter goes out and talks to Nico out in the backyard, she’s not looking at him as a little black boy, she’s looking at another little boy her age. And that’s how it is supposed to be.” Ervin said he has made some new friends -- they are Chelsea’s friends – but does keep tabs on friends in Long Island through social media. He said that after years of hustling, scheming and fighting, he’s managed to find peace in his life. “I just came to the realization that what I was doing in the past wasn’t working,” he said. “Where I was at is not it. But I am proud in that through my upbringing and the abuse and the Xanax, I have been able to become the man who I am. I’m sure someone can relate to my story … I’m not alone. Hopefully, my story can help somebody else.” Photo: Weldon Ervin, left; Le Roy Police Chief Chris Hayward and Le Roy Police Sgt. Greg Kellogg. Photo by Mike Pettinella.


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