CHATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With signs and songs, residents of Chatham have a message for those who want to divide their small community, says Mayor John Howe.

“I think it’s important to send a message that there is no room for hate. Not in this community,” the mayor reiterates.  

On Friday, January 14, a group displayed a ‘White Lives Matter’ banner at the village gazebo in Chatham. In a post on the messaging platform Telegram, the group says, “WLM New York held a banner in Chatham to spread the word for Our Folk! We got a great response from some European-Descendents within the Empire State who are beginning to awaken.”

Michael Richardson with Hate Watch Report in Chatham says to his knowledge, this was the first gathering of White Lives Matter to happen in the village. But, in December, stickers were placed around the area promoting what Richardson calls “white supremacy”. Richardson says, “there was a burst of stickering on December 21 and 22. Then there was a stickering at a meet up in North Greenbush at a conservation area outside the technical park. And then there was some repeated stickering down in Stockport and Hudson so it continues to this day.” 

Chief L. Edward Moore of the Hudson Police Department tells News10 the sticking event Richardson is referring to happened over the summer and that they have not seen any stickers since.

Reverend Kim Singletary says the demonstration today was an effort to “educate and uplift” the community through conversation about America’s history in terms of race. “Until we have that conversation and deal with those wounds, so that we can heal, we’ll be doing this in another generation,” the reverend explains, “I don’t want to see this in another generation. I want to leave for our children a generational legacy that we have healed the wounds of the past; that we are going forward as humans and Americans in unity.”