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YWCA, other groups, sponsoring talk on 'White Fragility' at GCC

By Press Release

Press release:

The YWCA of Genesee County, Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), the grass-roots empowerment group GLOW (Genesee Livingston Orleans Wyoming) Women Rise, and The Rotary Club of Batavia are sponsoring this event on Thursday, Sept. 8, from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. at Genesee Community College, One College Road, Batavia, Room T102, in-person only. It has two 15-minute breaks. Refreshments will be provided.

Writer and diversity trainer Nanette D. Massey of Buffalo believes we are well beyond holding hands when it comes to talking about race. Massey will present her take on the ideas in Robin DiAngelo’s New York Times Number One Best-Selling Book “White Fragility, Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism”. Attendees will have the chance to examine race from an unfiltered, real-world experience rather than theory. With frankness and practicality, Massey’s goal is to leave audiences with self-clarity, and the ability to participate in conversations about race with genuine confidence, humor, and humility. Preparation by reading the book before the session is expected.

This is an opportunity for Employers to fulfill cultural diversity training requirements.

Registration is $10 and it includes a copy of the book. You can register two ways. One option is to send a check to the YWCA of Genesee County, 301 North Street, Batavia, NY 14020. Please include your name, street address, city, state, zip code, phone number, and email. It is preferable that you register online using the Eventbrite link Once registered, attendees can pick up their copy of the book at the YWCA at 301 North St, Batavia; Independent Living of the Genesee Region at 319 West Main St., Batavia; or GLOW Women Rise at 201 East Main St. Limited seating may be available on the day of the event.

A former participant stated: “I’ve attended several of Nanette’s Zoom sessions through Eventbrite.  The sessions take the book ‘White Fragility’ to another level.  Nanette creates a safe space for honest dialogue.  I’ve laughed and cried and everything in between.  Nanette gives so much of herself, and I’ve learned and grown through her generosity.  I am incredibly grateful and can’t recommend her sessions enough!”

One can read more about Nanette D. Massey at her website,

A message from the president of the NYS Sheriffs' Association

By Billie Owens

From Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy, president, New York State Sheriffs’ Association on behalf of the Sheriffs of New York State:

As professional law enforcement officers who have dedicated their careers to saving lives and helping people in need, the Sheriffs of New York State condemn the senseless, shocking action of the officer who unjustifiably took the life of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

It was against everything we stand for, everything we train for and everything we demand and rightfully expect from our police officers.

We also condemn those who, since then, have used that great injustice as an excuse to commit other senseless, brutal acts which unjustly deprive more innocent people of their lives, their livelihood, their life savings and their livable communities.

Conservators of the Peace Sworn to Uphold the Constitution

We are sworn to uphold the Constitution and we fully support the Constitutional right of all citizens to peacefully assemble, protest and petition their government for desired change.

As Constitutional officers who have been given the duty of Conservators of the Peace in the counties, we know that conserving the peace does not mean just keeping everyone calm. It means assuring an atmosphere where all citizens can enjoy their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without having those rights unduly infringed upon by others.

Thus while we will do all we can to accommodate and protect those who feel compelled to publicly display, in a peaceful way, their justifiable outrage at the way George Floyd died, we will not condone or accommodate in any way those who would deprive others of their rights by hijacking those legitimate displays of concern to turn them into opportunities to assault, murder, loot, burn and spread anarchy.

We Ask Politicians and Leaders to Refrain from Incendiary Comments

We also must ask those politicians and other leaders in the communities who continually speak of “systemic racism” in our police agencies for their own political advantage to refrain from such unfounded and incendiary comments. It is disgusting conduct, which itself fuels racism on all sides, and leads to worse, not better race relations in this country. Instead we would welcome them to engage with us in open and honest discussions on how we can enhance community relations while regaining the public’s trust in law enforcement through fact-based studies and training.

Deputy Sheriffs and all law enforcement officers suffer because irresponsible leaders paint them with a broad brush. There are 800,000 police officers in this country. The inexcusable action of one police officer in Minneapolis cannot be used to justify labelling all 800,000 dedicated, hard-working police officers as racist. We know of no police officer who condones the actions of that one rogue cop in Minneapolis.

They, like most citizens, were sickened to see that video, but we also know that it is not representative of the 53.5 million contacts that law enforcement has with civilians annually. We know of no police officer who joined the force because they saw it as a license to kill or abuse others. Most police officers join out of a simple desire to help people… of any race. Most police officers have shown more helpfulness, and personal compassion and kindness toward down-and-out citizens… black, brown, yellow or white… than have any of the self-righteous politicians and others who sow hatred and distrust of the police with their irresponsible rhetoric.

Those politicians, when they finish their rants, can then go home to their mansions and comfortable homes, secure in the knowledge that the police officers which they just maligned will continue to do their duty to protect them and all the citizens of their communities, even though their job has been made doubly more difficult by race-baiting rhetoric.

Sheriffs Work Hard to Build Public Trust

There is one thing upon which we and critics of the police can agree: there is distrust of the police in many minority communities. We Sheriffs work hard to build public trust in law enforcement. The training of our Deputy Sheriffs includes extensive training in community relations, anti-racism, recognizing implicit bias, and proper use of force. This training results in officers who are sensitive to the need for racial neutrality in enforcing the law, and their enforcement decisions are based upon a person’s conduct, not their color. That plain fact is, of course, contrary to the popular narrative.

In conclusion, the Sheriffs of New York make a commitment to our communities. We, and our citizens, desire a society where we can all live in true peace. While each of us has Sheriffs have outreach, in some form, to community and religious groups and to minority organizations and minority communities, it is clear that more has to be done to combat the false view of police as the oppressors, which has been inculcated into many minority communities, and which allows opportunists to take advantage of such things as the George Floyd tragedy to foment more hatred and more chaos.

The Sheriffs of New York, through our New York State Sheriffs’ Association, will immediately undertake the task of strengthening, in an organized way, the ties between Sheriffs’ Offices and minority communities and organizations in the counties across the State, with a goal of affirmatively demonstrating that our desire is to serve all citizens, and as the Conservators of the Peace in the counties, to secure to those citizens true peace, which means the opportunity to enjoy life, liberty and happiness in a just world.

YWCA of Genesee County issues statement on the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota and the outrage it has sparked

By Billie Owens

From Millie Tomidy-Pepper, executive director, YWCA of Genesee County:

We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd, and to the larger Minneapolis and St. Paul community. YWCA continues to be outraged by the violence and deaths of people of color in America due to police brutality.

We at YWCA of Genesee County felt outrage following the death of George Floyd, a black man suffocated by a white police officer earlier this week. We send our condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd and also to the families of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and to all communities of color.

We are also thinking of our sisters and brothers at YWCA Minneapolis and the whole Minneapolis-St. Paul community through this difficult and frightening time.

YWCA Minneapolis’ Midtown location, located in the heart of the area where George Floyd was murdered and the scene of current protests, alongside YWCA St. Paul have served the Twin Cities community for over 100 years. We stand together with the people that we serve and our community stakeholders to eliminate racism and empower women.

This work and our mission are at the core of what we do, and today we lift our collective voices to demand justice.

“George Floyd was one of ours," said Gaye Adams Massey, CEO, YWCA St. Paul. "He took advantage of a training program offered by YWCA St. Paul and, like many of those we partner with, he was taking steps to build a brighter future.

"The anger, anguish, and grief we are feeling in this community are real. And yet, we must channel those emotions into positive action that demands justice, drives change, and most importantly honors his memory."

“We condemn the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Department officers," said Michelle Basham, MPA/ESQ, CEO/president, YWCA Minneapolis. "We have seen this tragedy before.

"Unfortunately, George Floyd is just one of countless other black lives lost to police violence, including that of Jamar Clark and Philando Castile. We must work toward racial justice. And we must work in partnership with others to hold our elected officials and law enforcement accountable.”

Together with YWCA Minneapolis and YWCA St. Paul, over 200 YWCAs across the country unite to answer the cry for justice, peace, and dignity for all. YWCA continues to call for dismantling systemic racism and equal protection and opportunity under the law through its public policy and advocacy work.

At YWCA, we demand a world of equity and human decency. We envision a world of opportunity. We commit ourselves to the work of racial justice.

We will get up and continue to do the work until injustice is rooted out, until institutions are transformed, until the world sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do: Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable.

Batavians come together to answer hate and bigotry with calls for peace and unity

By Howard B. Owens


More than 200 local residents came together Thursday night at the YWCA on North Street, Batavia, to share words of peace and unity in response to the message of hate and bigotry in Charlottesville, Va., two weeks ago.

Speakers expressed both hope that our society can learn to live in harmony, and anger at chanted slogans and actions of the white supremacists who descended on Charlottesville.

Rev. Sheila Campbell recalled the murder of Heather Heyer, a counter-protester who was killed when a car allegedly driven by a white supremacist drove into a crowd of people, whom she celebrated as a hero who confronted the reality of injustice and inhumanity.

The last social media post by Heyer, Campbell said, was, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."

Heyer, she said, was paying attention.

"The call for the removal of the Confederate statue was a cry for help and she responded in love by standing on the line of justice and equality," Campbell said. "Heather chose to stand on the side of that which unites humanity, which is encased in compassion and empathy. She made the ultimate sacrifice and her name will be forever etched in the annals which recall the blood of the slaughtered voices of justice."

Diana Kastenbaum, a Batavia resident and local business owner, openly confronted her own fear and anger sparked by what she saw on TV in Charlottesville and what she judged to be an inadequate response from some elected leaders and some in the media.

"Don't kid yourself," Kastenbaum said. "This march was not about statues and permits. It was about a group of people marching for equality and another group marching for superiority. There is no moral equivalency."

There were those, she said, who were slow to denounce the bigotry and hate, and even those who did denounce racism while glossing over the overt anti-Semitism, such as the neo-Nazis marching with tiki torches chanting, "Jews will not replace us."

She recalled driving to work the Monday after the protests and seeing two different pickup trucks driving in Batavia flying the Confederate flag from poles in the beds of their trucks.

"One pickup truck was parked in the same driveway of the house where three men on a darkened porch Heil Hitlered my family and I as we left Rosh Hashanah services last year," Kastenbaum said. "From that incident, I knew they were anti-Semitic. Now I know they are also racists. I wondered how many more Confederate flags I would see that day."

Brandon Armstrong, a local business owner, said he came to say a few words about racism.

"I can live my life and not worry about someone who hates me, but I need to know if I go to apply for a job am I going to get the same treatment as everyone else?" Armstrong said. "And if I do get the job, am I going to be treated fair or am I going to get the loan from the bank? See, it's not all about hate."

He said there needs to be a better understanding, and a better response, to what it is that holds poor minorities back from greater achievement, whether it's what they can and should do for themselves, or what needs to be done to help those who can't help themselves.

Other speakers included Father Ivan Trujillo, Dr. Mohammed Rumi, Pastor Jim Renfew, Pastor Ruth Warner (who also played a rendition of "What a friend I have in Jesus" on her oboe), Stan Schumann, president of Temple Emanu-El, and Jeannie Walton, director of the YWCA.

Rev. Roula Alkhouri, of First Presbyterian Church of Batavia, one of the event's organizers, helped open and close the vigil.

She said she was stunned about the news coming out of Charlottesville two weeks ago.

"I didn't know how to respond," Alkhouri said. "I was afraid. A part of me was afraid. As a woman. As an Arab-American. I thought of the fear that people like me experienced because of the hate of others. So I didn't know what to say, what to do. How do I respond? Do I even dare speak up? But then my faith, the example of Jesus in my life led me to say you have to speak up. You have to say something, you have to stand up for what is right.

"And these words from Romans 12:21 came to me. 'Do not overcome evil by evil but with good.' And so I thought what is good in this moment? I thought of the good that comes from us coming together, our standing and say we can love across the boundaries that separate us or seem to separate us, of race, of religion, of different wants or thoughts or political persuasions. We can come and say hate has no place in our country."


Rev. Sheila Campbell


 Rev. Roula Alkhouri


Pastor Ruth Warner


Father Ivan Trujillo



Brandon Armstrong


Stan Schumann



From WNYMedia - The Ugly Truth about 9/12: It’s all about Racism.

By Bea McManis

Take a look at these pictures, and tell me that racism isn't alive and well. This is the much heralded march on Washington.

The Ugly Truth about 9/12: It’s all about Racism.

The moron convention converged on Washington today . Talk about thick headed asshats. You can tell me the debate going on in this country right now is not seeded in racism and hate all you want. After seeing some of these pictures, I just won't believe you.


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