WXXI AM News

Evan Dawson

Connections Host

Evan Dawson joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.

Evan is also the author of Summer in a Glass: The Coming Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes and is the managing editor/Finger Lakes editor for the New York Cork Report, a web site that offers independent news, reviews, and commentary about the New York wine industry.

He has written freelance articles on topics including politics, wine, travel, and Major League Baseball.

Ways to Connect

Fans in Kansas City booed when both football teams on the field linked arms in a show of unity. This happened not during the national anthem, but before the game -- it was intended as a show of strength. The vocal response of the limited crowd has convinced some observers that fans shouldn't be in stadiums at all this year. Sports Illustrated regional writer Pete Smith argues, "The biggest takeaway from the first game of the season between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans was the NFL shouldn't have fans in the stands. Not because of COVID-19, but evidently the country is so divided, so broken that even a modicum of respectful behavior is simply beyond our grasp."

Our guests debate the merits of putting fans in the seats during this pandemic season:

  • Pete Smith, editor of Sports Illustrated Browns Digest
  • Andre Hudson, local college professor and Bills fan
  • Evalyn Gleason, longtime Bills fan

https://jeremycooney.com/

First hour: Jeremy Cooney, Democratic candidate for the 56th Senate District

Second hour: Should the NFL have fans in the stands this season?

With physical distancing guidelines leading to more separation and in some cases, isolation, in communities, the pandemic is disrupting some support networks for people struggling with addiction. NPR reported last month that drug overdoses are spiking during the pandemic -- increasing about 18 percent. Fatal overdoses have also increased. Meanwhile, the ways in which addiction medicine is provided is changing, specifically, via telemedicine.

September is National Recovery Month, and ROCovery Fitness is raising awareness and celebrating recovering during its annual 5K and X-Challenge this weekend. We talk with ROCovery founders and members about how their work has changed during the pandemic. Our guests:

  • Yana Khashper, co-founder of ROCovery Fitness
  • Sean Smith, co-founder of ROCovery Fitness
  • Hugo, member of ROCovery Fitness
  • Cate, member of ROCovery Fitness
  • Dr. Holly Ann Russell, M.D., founder and director of the Addiction Medicine program at Highland Family Medicine

The second Black Kids Matter Rally is set to take place Saturday at Harris Whalen Park. It was organized by local moms who wanted to create a family-friendly BLM event. From drum circles to story time to a short march, the organizers hope to raise awareness of the movement among Rochester's youngest citizens.

We talk to the mothers about the event and broader issues related to diversity, inclusion, and equitable education in our community. Our guests: 

  • Nicolette Ferguson, Black Kids Matter Rally organizer
  • Kristen Turgeon, Black Kids Matter Rally organizer 
  • Ahlia Kitwana, Black Kids Matter Rally organizer
  • Melody Wollgren, Black Kids Matter Rally organizer
  • W.D. Ferguson, Black Kids Matter Rally participant
  • Keegan Turgeon, Black Kids Matter Rally participant

First hour: Discussing the challenges of addiction during the pandemic 

Second hour: Previewing the second Black Kids Matter Rally

We discuss the life and legacy of award-winning poet Lucille Clifton. Clifton was a Buffalo native whose work celebrated Black womanhood, identity, and resilience. She won the National Book Award for Poetry and was a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

BOA Editions is publishing a new collection of her work. Our guests discuss that collection – “How to Carry Water” – and how it intersects with current events. We also discuss BOA's upcoming Dine & Rhyme event honoring Clifton. Our guests:

  • Sidney Clifton, television and film producer, and daughter of Lucille Clifton
  • Cornelius Eady, poet and co-founder of Cave Canem Foundation
  • Peter Connors, publisher for BOA Editions
  • Alison Meyers, executive director of Writers & Books

Former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson says the newly formed commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE) was not informed of Daniel Prude’s death. Johnson says the commission has important work to do and can help lead the city forward. He joins us to talk about the Prude case and what we should expect of city leaders.

Our guest:

  • Bill Johnson, former Rochester mayor and co-chair of the RASE Commission

James Brown/WXXI News

First hour: Former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson on the Daniel Prude case

Second hour: Discussing the life and legacy of poet Lucille Clifton

When Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary announced his retirement Tuesday afternoon, it came as a surprise to Mayor Lovely Warren and members of Rochester City Council. Members of Council learned of the resignation during the first of what will be regular public briefings with the mayor -- meetings that Council requested to discuss interactions between protesters and police officers. In a letter to the mayor last week, Council members called for officers involved in the Prude case to be placed on administrative leave, said charges against protesters should be dropped, and called for more funding for the Monroe County Forensic Intervention Team, which partners with the county's Office of Mental Health.

This hour, we're joined by members of Council to discuss all of this and broader issues surrounding the Prude case. Our guests:

Nationally renowned civil rights expert Eric Ward has spent years studying hate violence and its relationship to preserving democratic institutions. His work examines white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and police-community relations. Ward will be the keynote speaker for Jewish Federation's upcoming Summit to End Hate.

This hour, we preview that event and talk with Ward and his fellow panelists about the recent events in Rochester and how communities can work to eliminate structural inequality. Our guests:

  • Eric Ward, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, and executive director of the Western States Center
  • Kevin Beckford, director of staff diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of Rochester, and co-chair of the steering committee for the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester's Levine Center to End Hate
  • Taj Smith, director of diversity education at RIT, and member of the steering committee for the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester's Levine Center to End Hate
  • Meredith Dragon, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester
  • Karen Elam, director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester's Levine Center to End Hate

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