Search intensifies for 11-year-old Iowa boy missing since last week

Hundreds of officers and volunteers have combed through fields and woods.

Hundreds of police and community volunteers combed through miles of wilderness in Iowa during a weekend-long search for a missing 11-year-old boy.

Xavior Harrelson was last seen on Thursday morning in Montezuma, Iowa, according to the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office.

Over 100 police officers looked around the boy’s home and a nearby lake on Saturday, officials said.

On Sunday, Xavior’s birthday, the search expanded, with over 500 residents volunteering to look throughout the area. Teams of 40 volunteers boarded buses and made their way to the outskirts of the tiny town during the search, according to Des Moines ABC affiliate KCCI.

“It’s so close to home, it makes it hard. And I can’t imagine what his parents are going through,” Jennifer Alardin, one of the search volunteers, told ABC News.

The search continued on Monday, but there was no sign of the boy as of evening, officials said.

The search was scheduled to continue Tuesday, according to the sheriff’s office.

Xavior was last ween wearing a red T-shirt, blue pajama pants and black high-top shoes. He is described as approximately 4 feet, 8 inches tall and 100 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes, the sheriff’s office said.

Anyone with information or tips is urged to call the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office at 641-623-5679.

“It’s small towns around here, so everybody comes together,” Clayton Van Wyk, of Newton, told KCCI of the search for Xavior. “It was the same thing when it happened with Mollie and everything.”

Texas Governor Threatens No Pay After Democrats Stage A Walkout Over Voting Rights

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he intends to withhold paychecks to state lawmakers after House Democrats staged a walkout to block voting restrictions proposed by their Republican counterparts.

Texas Gov Greg Abbott pictured in March. He has threatened to block the pay of lawmakers who left the state House chamber rather than vote on a bill they say would make it harder to vote.

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Texas Gov Greg Abbott pictured in March. He has threatened to block the pay of lawmakers who left the state House chamber rather than vote on a bill they say would make it harder to vote.

LM Otero/AP

A large group of Democrats walked out of the House chamber in Austin late Sunday, so there was no quorum and that prevented a final vote on the proposal, Senate Bill 7. The bill, which had appeared poised for passage, would cut back polling hours, reduce access to mail-in voting, and give more authority to partisan poll-watchers.

Voting rights advocates say those and other provisions of the bill would make voting more difficult in Texas, and would disproportionately burden people of color. There’s been no evidence of significant voter fraud in Texas or elsewhere.

On Twitter, Abbott said he would veto Article 10 of the state budget, which funds the legislative branch.

“No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities,” he said. He did not provide further details, but added, “Stay tuned.”

Abbott also has said he intends to order lawmakers back to Austin to complete work on the bill.

The fight in the Texas Legislature comes as Republican state lawmakers across the country work to pass legislation they say is designed to crack down on voter fraud, but which would have the effect of making voting more difficult in many communities. Lawmakers in several states have introduced similar legislation, motivated at least in part by former President Donald Trump’s continued promotion of the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was somehow stolen, despite evidence to the contrary.

Those states include Georgia, where Democrats prevailed in the presidential contest for the first time in nearly 30 years, thanks in large part to grassroots organizers like Stacey Abrams, who worked to turn out younger voters and people of color ahead of Election Day.

UK intelligence reassesses COVID lab leak theory, now says its ‘feasible’

British intelligence services are now reportedly reassessing their position on the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a lab in China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

A Sunday report from the Sunday Times of London quotes British spies who initially dismissed the lab leak theory, but now say it is “feasible.” 

“There might be pockets of evidence that take us one way, and evidence that takes us another way,” the paper quoted a source as saying. “The Chinese will lie either way. I don’t think we will ever know.” 

Security personnel gather near the entrance of the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan in China's Hubei province on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Security personnel gather near the entrance of the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
(AP)

The quote comes as both the United States and Britain are stepping up calls for the World Health Organization to take a deeper look into the possible origins of COVID-19, including a new visit to China, where the first human infections were detected.

WHO and Chinese experts issued a first report in March that laid out four hypotheses about how the pandemic might have emerged. The joint team said the most likely scenario was that the coronavirus jumped into people from bats via an intermediary animal, and the prospect that it erupted from a laboratory was deemed “extremely unlikely.” 

MIAMI HERALD RIPPED FOR EDITORIAL HAILING ‘WHISTLEBLOWER’ STATUS OF FIRED FLORIDA DOH EMPLOYEE REBEKAH JONES

The Biden administration wants to step up calls for China to be more open about the outbreak, aiming to head off complaints from opposition Republican senators that the president has not been tough enough, as well as to use the opportunity to press China on alleged obstruction.

Virologist Shi Zheng-li, left, works with her colleague in the P4 lab of Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.

Virologist Shi Zheng-li, left, works with her colleague in the P4 lab of Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.
(Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have promoted the theory that the virus emerged from a laboratory accident rather than naturally through human contact with an infected animal in China.

During an interview with CBS’ ‘Face The Nation’ on Sunday, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said accidental lab leaks “happen all the time.” 

CORONAVIRUS IN THE US: STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN

“These kinds of lab leaks happen all the time, actually,” Gottlieb said. “Even here in the United States, we’ve had mishaps, and in China, the last six known outbreaks of SARS-1 have been out of labs, including the last known outbreak, which was a pretty extensive outbreak that China initially wouldn’t disclose that it came out of a lab.”

And earlier this month the Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in late 2019 displayed symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and required hospital treatment.

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President Biden, meanwhile, said the intelligence community has yet to determine whether the pandemic began after human contact with infected animals or because of a lab accident. Officials are expected to deliver an updated report on their conclusion within the next few months.

Fox News’ Thomas Barrabi and the Associated Press contributed to this report

Democrats aim to make Greene their foil ahead of midterms | TheHill

Democrats are making Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP efforts to downplay danger of Capitol riot increase The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she’s meeting with Trump ‘soon’ in Florida MORE (R-Ga.) one of their main GOP foils heading into the 2022 midterms as they look to retain their slim majority in the House.

Greene has sparked new backlash in recent days over comments she made equating mask mandates to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, remarks that Democratic aides and strategists say will help them as they seek to paint the entire GOP as a party of right-wing conspiracy theorists.

“I think that she is providing a huge opportunity in the absence of Trump to be a sticking point and a foil for Democrats in campaigns,” said Democratic pollster Molly Murphy. “All she stands for and represents is a walking depiction of where this Republican Party is going. And I think Democrats would be wise to invoke her and where she is trying to take that party.”

The controversy surrounding Greene comes as Democrats craft a strategy on how to defend one of the narrowest House majorities in modern history.

The party controls the chamber by only a handful of seats and already finds itself facing both a redistricting process that is expected to give Republicans an advantage and a historical trend in which the party out of the White House gains seats in the first midterm of a new administration.

Democrats have already previewed a campaign strategy that focuses on the Biden administration’s legislative efforts, including touting a sweeping coronavirus relief package that was signed into law earlier this year and proposals to implement trillions of dollars in infrastructure spending as well as expand the social safety net.

But House operatives are also planning to highlight controversial remarks Greene has made as well as Republicans’ reluctance to issue any kind of formal punishment against her in Congress.

Murphy predicted that Greene would be featured in Democrats’ paid advertising efforts as well as fundraising solicitations and could be used to knock other top Republicans.

“Democrats are going to run on popular legislation,” added one top House aide, “and Republicans are just kind of disqualifying themselves.”

“With Greene specifically, you see someone like [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyColorado Democrat: Fear of Trump, desire for power ‘overriding’ patriotism in some Republicans How Trump could impact the GOP’s 2022 prospects Democrats plot next move after GOP sinks Jan. 6 probe MORE [R-Calif.] just being unwilling and unable to rein her in or to stop her from consuming their caucus or really becoming a leader in it, which really does more to disqualify McCarthy and Republican leadership more than anything else,” the aide added. 

Greene most recently drew controversy this week when she likened mask mandates in Congress and across the country to the Holocaust — and then doubled down in the face of criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. She was met with rebukes from House GOP leaders but is not expected to face any formal reprimand.

The Georgia lawmaker is no stranger to controversy, having found herself embroiled in a number of firestorms during her short House tenure.

Greene was voted off her committees earlier this year over past remarks from before her 2020 election that voiced support for the QAnon conspiracy theory and advocated for violence against Democrats.

She then sparked an uproar in Washington over a draft from her office regarding the formation of the “America First Caucus,” which called for a “common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”

Besides those incidents, Greene has been a consistent proponent of the debunked theory that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from former President TrumpDonald TrumpBarbra Streisand: Republicans ‘want an authoritarian state’ DOJ adds four defendants to Oath Keepers conspiracy case J.D. Vance emerges as wild card in Ohio GOP Senate primary MORE and has clashed with several House Democrats, most notably confronting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Marjorie Taylor Greene exposes GOP establishment’s lack of power Jewish House Democrats call for Biden to address antisemitism GOP leaders face new calls to boot Greene MORE (D-N.Y.) and heckling Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) over her transgender daughter.

Greene’s turn in the national spotlight coincides with Democrats’ search for a new foil now that Trump is out of the White House and has lost his Twitter and Facebook bullhorns.

“I think that what makes this an effective line of attack is that this is not a big step away, this is just a continuation really of where Trump took them and where she and other right-wing extremists are trying to take the party,” one Democratic strategist working on down-ballot races told The Hill. “She’s just picking up the baton from Donald Trump.”

The playbook mirrors one the GOP has used for years. Republicans for several cycles flooded the airwaves and social media with ads saying that people like Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBarbara Comstock: If Trump disappeared there wouldn’t be many Republicans in the search party House GOP fights back against mask, metal detector fines Democrats plot next move after GOP sinks Jan. 6 probe MORE (D-Calif.), Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats plot next move after GOP sinks Jan. 6 probe 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 Hillary Clinton responds to story about ‘posh’ restaurant outing with vaccine PSA MORE and Ocasio-Cortez were running the party instead of Presidents Obama and Biden, who often had higher approval ratings than the GOP’s foils.

“You need voters on Election Day to have a picture in their mind of who in Washington is going to be in charge, and I think Republicans always tried to do that,” the strategist said. “It is not Kevin McCarthy. … It’s driven by Marjorie Taylor Greene, it’s driven by a number of her colleagues and these people who are in the fringe.”

When asked about the criticism and its effect on the midterms, Greene doubled down on her remarks, accusing Democrats of antisemitism over scattered criticism of Israel and denouncing mask mandates.

“Their attempts to shame, ostracize, and brand Americans who choose not to get vaccinated or wear a mask are reminiscent of the great tyrants of history who did the same to those who would not comply,” she said in a statement. “I’m sorry some of my words make people uncomfortable, but this is what the American left is all about.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee also swatted away the attacks, with spokesperson Mike Berg calling it part of Democrats’ effort to “do and say anything to distract” from a “socialist agenda.”

Still, Republicans voiced concern that Greene’s numerous controversial comments could be a drag on the party in 2022.

“I’m a Republican, I’m not Jewish, I’m not a history buff, but every time I hear Marjorie Taylor Greene talk about the Holocaust, it’s cringeworthy. And I think there are a lot of people out there as well that feel the same way,” said Georgia-based GOP strategist Chip Lake.

“Six months ago, nobody heard of this representative, and now she’s routinely leading national newscasts,” Alex Conant, another Republican operative, added. “That’s not great for Republicans trying to win the majority.”

It’s unclear that Greene will prove as effective a foil as Trump, Conant said. Despite her platform, Greene is a backbencher in the House, while Trump was president.

But still, she succeeded in recent days in monopolizing media coverage, forcing House GOP leadership to issue statements condemning her remarks while distancing themselves from questions over whether she should be removed from the House Republican Caucus.

Democrats say that dynamic in itself is valuable for them going into the midterms.

“That’s the biggest problem that she’s presenting for them … she’s distracting them from what an opposition party is normally trying to do,” said a second Democratic strategist working on House races. “She absolutely cuts both ways in terms of generating fundraising and keeping the Democratic base riled up but then also preventing the guys on her side from mounting a coherent argument against Joe BidenJoe BidenTexas Democrats stage walkout to block passage of sweeping election overhaul package DOJ adds four defendants to Oath Keepers conspiracy case Biden remembers late son Beau in Memorial Day remarks MORE.”

While the attacks on Greene are sure to animate the party base, Democrats say they’re waiting until next year to see how much swing voters are swayed by the broadsides.

But strategists say the attacks don’t have to win over broad swaths of converts — they only have to convince enough undecided voters in enough House races to not vote Republican to have a shot at holding the chamber.

“Is she going to be a deciding issue for all of them? No,” Democratic strategist Eddie Vale told The Hill, referencing swing voters.

“But they see the whole party turning away from them. And again, that’s not going to be 100,000 people in a congressional district, but if that impacts 500 people in a district, that could swing it either way.”

Denmark helped US spy on Merkel, EU officials during Obama administration: reports

Denmark’s intelligence service worked with its U.S. counterpart to collect information on European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to several reports in Danish media. 

According to Danmarks Radio (DR), the Danish foreign secret service helped the U.S. collect intelligence on European leaders, including Merkel, from 2012 to 2014 under the codename “Operation Dunhammer.” 

Efforts by the U.S. government to collect such intelligence during that timeframe were previously reported. But the role of Denmark’s Defense Intelligence Service, known in Denmark by its acronym FE, was not previously known.

The U.S. National Security Agency reportedly worked with FE to gain access to text messages and phone calls with officials from European countries.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses a news conference at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke - RC12033B1980

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses a news conference at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke – RC12033B1980

RYANAIR FLIGHT TO POLAND DIVERTED TO BERLIN OVER ‘POTENTIAL SECURITY THREAT’

The NSA did not immediately respond to a message from Fox News seeking comment. 

Edward Snowden, the ex-NSA contractor who blew the lid off U.S. government surveillance methods in 2013 and has been hiding in Russia, accused President Biden of being “deeply involved” in the effort as vice president under Obama.

The White House did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. 

When the U.S. spying efforts were first exposed, Merkel declared that “spying among friends” is unacceptable. Now, some in Europe are calling for further investigation into whether Copenhagen was involved in that spying. 

“We want the cards on the table,” Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hulqvist said. 

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A Danish lawmaker in the left-wing Socialist People’s Party said that he plans to press Denmark’s defense and justice ministers on the alleged assistance to the United States’ spying efforts. 

“The government must explain how come Denmark has been acting as a willing tool for a U.S. intelligence service, and what it will mean for cooperation with Denmark’s neighboring countries,” that lawmaker, Karsten Hoenge, said. 

Fox News’ Tyler Olson and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Miami-Dade police release surveillance video of armed suspects in banquet hall mass shooting

Three men armed with weapons jumped out of an SUV seconds before they unleashed a barrage of gunfire at a Miami-area banquet hall that left two dead over the holiday weekend and over 20 people injured, according to surveillance video released by authorities on Monday. 

The brief video shows a Nissan Pathfinder pulling up to the El Mula banquet hall in the early Sunday morning hours in the suburb of Hialeah. The hall was hosting a rap concert at the time. 

Three people wearing masks are seen getting out holding weapons and running toward the building. 

Seconds later they get back in and the SUV speeds off. Authorities said several people were shot while standing outside the hall when the gunmen indiscriminately opened fire. Several people in the crowd who were armed returned fire, authorities said Monday. 

FLORIDA SHOOTING AT MIAMI-AREA BANQUET HALL LEAVES AT LEAST 2 DEAD, ABOUT 25 WOUNDED: REPORTS

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, center, gives her opening remarks during a news conference about the Memorial Day weekend mass shootings, Monday, May 31, 2021 at the Fred Taylor Miami-Dade Police Headquarters in Doral, Fla. (Carl Juste/Miami Herald via AP)

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, center, gives her opening remarks during a news conference about the Memorial Day weekend mass shootings, Monday, May 31, 2021 at the Fred Taylor Miami-Dade Police Headquarters in Doral, Fla. (Carl Juste/Miami Herald via AP)

“We will do everything, everything we can and use every resource available to bring these people to justice. We will leave no stone unturned, we will leave nothing behind to bring these shooters to justice,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a news conference.

Two men, both 26, were killed, and 21 were injured. The Miami-Dade Police Department said 18 victims, including five women, remain hospitalized. No arrests have been made. 

Three other victims – a 31-year-old woman and two men, ages 21 and 25 — remain in critical condition. Three people have been released from hospitals, including a 17-year-old who was shot in the leg. 

Law enforcement officials work the scene of a shooting outside a banquet hall near Hialeah, Fla., on Sunday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Law enforcement officials work the scene of a shooting outside a banquet hall near Hialeah, Fla., on Sunday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

“We have intelligence information that this resulted from an ongoing rivalry from two different groups,” said Major Jorge Aguilar of the Miami-Dade Police Department. “We know that our intended target was most likely in front of the establishment when the shooting took place.”

One man, identified by Fox affiliate WSVN-TV as Clayton Dillard, whose son was killed in the shooting interrupted the news conference when he stepped in front of the podium.

“You killed my kid,” he said. “You must burn! Y’all took something that was given to me as a gift. Whoever did this will burn!”

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He was escorted away by officers as Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez spoke. 

Authorities said feuds like the one that culminated in Sunday’s shooting often escalate on social media as groups exchange insults back-and-forth. 

“What’s really the engine is what they’re saying in their rap songs or what they’re posting on videos that are trigger words that create a retaliation,” Ramirez said. 

The shooting came as the Miami area has grappled with a series of shootings in recent days. Over three days, 30 people have been shot, authorities said. 

Dangerous heat wave hits the West as Atlantic gears up for hurricane season

Temperatures are expected to climb to 106 degrees in Sacramento on Monday.

A dangerous heat wave is invading the West, bringing triple digit temperatures on Memorial Day, while on the East Coast, the Atlantic hurricane season is set to begin.

Heat wave hits the West

The first widespread heat wave of the year is enveloping in much of the West.

On Monday afternoon, temperatures are expected to climb to 106 degrees in Sacramento, 102 degrees in Palm Springs and 100 degrees in Las Vegas.

Some Northern California cities could reach daily record highs Monday afternoon.

The heat will expand to much of the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday and Wednesday with highs reaching the upper 90s near Portland, Oregon.

By Wednesday, Las Vegas and Phoenix are forecast to be a scorching 105 degrees.

Northeast weather improving

The relentless rain and chilly temperatures that took over the Northeast for much of Memorial Day weekend will soon be over.

Skies are clearing across much of the region and some sunshine is expected to return Monday afternoon.

The long-term forecast shows a major warm-up with summer-like conditions settling into the Northeast next weekend.

Atlantic hurricane season begins

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on Tuesday, June 1, but there are no tropical concerns in the Atlantic Basin at this time.

Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal 2021 hurricane season; experts said this year’s storms likely won’t surpass 2020’s historic level of activity, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This year there will likely be 13 to 20 named storms with winds of 39 mph or greater, 6 to 10 of which could become hurricanes with winds of at least 74 mph. Three to five of those hurricanes could become Category 3, 4 or 5 storms with winds of 111 mph or higher.

The Atlantic hurricane season ends on Nov. 30.

Artists Black Wall Street Project Is About Tulsa 100 Years Ago — And Today

Artist Paul Rucker is creating a new multimedia work to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. That’s when a thriving African American community was destroyed in a horrific act of violence that wiped out hundreds of Black-owned businesses and homes. Above, an aerial view of Tulsa, Okla., Fowler & Kelly, 1918.

GHI/Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images


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Artist Paul Rucker is creating a new multimedia work to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. That’s when a thriving African American community was destroyed in a horrific act of violence that wiped out hundreds of Black-owned businesses and homes. Above, an aerial view of Tulsa, Okla., Fowler & Kelly, 1918.

GHI/Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Artist Paul Rucker is fearless when it comes to taking on terrible moments in American history.

“The work that I do evolves mostly around the things I was never taught about,” Rucker explains. Over Zoom, he’s discussing his work in progress, Three Black Wall Streets, which evokes and honors the achievements of Black entrepreneurs and visionaries who created thriving spaces of possibility and sanctuary after the end of the Civil War.

One of them, in Tulsa, Okla., was destroyed by a white mob 100 years ago, on May 31, 1921. The catastrophic attack on what was known as Black Wall Street might be the worst single episode of racial violence in American history, with 35 city blocks of Black community destroyed and flattened.

“Ten thousand Black people left homeless,” Rucker says. “Churches were burned. Schools. Libraries. Theaters. Everything in the Black community.”

Tulsa’s Greenwood area was a thriving commercial and residential district before the Tulsa Race Massacre, as its now known. Destruction of Black wealth and property – by arson, firebombing, even dynamite dropped from planes – went on for two days. The atrocity went unmentioned or was underplayed in official state history for decades. Police records, newspaper stories and other evidence from the era vanished from archives. It was only last year that the story became part of the curriculum in Oklahoma schools — after the HBO show Watchman helped bring it to the popular consciousness in 2019.

Its first episode begins with a shocking – and accurate – depiction of the mayhem. “A lot of people were giving Watchman a lot of credit for bringing attention to Black Wall Street,” Rucker says. “Well, people in the Black community have been talking about it for years.”

Rucker’s multimedia work tackles mass incarceration, lynching, police brutality and the various insidious ways America is shaped by our legacy of slavery. His 2018 TED talk, about appropriating the symbols of systemic racism, has almost two million views.

An art world powerhouse, Paul Rucker, who recently turned 53, can count seven museum shows this year. His resume reads like a list of prestigious grants and fellowships, and he was the first artist in residence at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. But before all the recognition and awards, Rucker worked as a janitor at the Seattle Art Museum. He used leftover art supplies to realize his vision, because he couldn’t afford new ones. Born in Anderson, S.C., Rucker’s father was a yard worker, born in 1905.

Paul Rucker’s work will be featured in seven museum shows in 2021.

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Ryan Stevenson/Paul Rucker

Paul Rucker’s work will be featured in seven museum shows in 2021.

Ryan Stevenson/Paul Rucker

“He was 63 when I was born,” Rucker says. “He grew up during the height of lynching, so he was around during Black Wall Street. He didn’t tell me about the bad incidents that may have happened to him. But he had to be careful. He had to be careful about what direction he looked. You had people during the time he was born who were lynched because they knocked on the wrong door.”

Paul Rucker remembers seeing Klan rallies when he was small. As a young teen, he sat on the street and ate ice cream while watching a Klan parade go by. About seven years ago, Rucker started sewing Klan robes himself. “I use kente cloth. I use camouflage,” he explained in his TED talk. The material stands for the ways racism gets camouflaged, too. “We have segregated schools, neighborhoods, workplaces. And it’s not the people wearing hoods that are keeping these policies in place. My work is about the long-term impact of slavery. The stealth aspect of racism is part of its power. Racism has the power to hide. And when it hides, its kept safe, ’cause it blends in.”

With his Tulsa project, originally called Banking While Black, Rucker first planned to build an installation using the guts of an old bank. But COVID-19 changed everything. Now the project is virtual, with three universities involved: George Washington University, Virginia Commonwealth University (where Rucker gave a recent talk about the project) and Arizona State University, which plans some sort of physical exhibit with the project this fall.

“Paul does ask us to bear witness, for sure,” says Miki Garcia, director of the ASU Art Museum. Her school’s partnering with Rucker, she says, in all kinds of ways this year, including a huge group project called Undoing Time: Art and the Histories of Incarceration. “He is surfacing histories that have been intentionally, I believe, obscured. So whether it is looking at the history of mass incarceration or the Klan robes or the Tulsa Race Massacre, he makes history viscerally present.”

In this project, the history focuses on three Black Wall Streets: in Tulsa, Durham, N.C., and Richmond, Va. A website, designed with the help of students and professor Kevin Patton at GWU’s Corcoran School of Art and Design, will immerse visitors into these communities at their zenith.

“We’re not including any of those pictures of destruction on this website,” Rucker says. “Zero. ”

While some Black communities, such as those in Tulsa and Rosewood, Fla., were savagely destroyed by mobs in the early 1920s, Rucker points to another kind of economic violence wrecked upon thriving Black commercial districts all over the county. Mid-century urban renewal programs prioritized highways over Black communities. They tore up Black neighborhoods and split them apart, in cities from Syracuse to Miami to Indianapolis to Houston to Oakland.

“A lot of my work is about violence,” Rucker says. “I mean, I have more work about dead people than anyone I know. It wears me down, but I have to tell these stories because they need to be told. [But] this may be my last project around race and dealing with atrocities.”

The legacy of these economic atrocities, says Rucker, include the chipping away of Black wealth, the coordinated exclusion of Black people from boards and management jobs, and from representation in classrooms. For the past year, Rucker acted as a mentor to a student group called B.A.S.E – Black Art Student Empowerment at Virginia Commonwealth University, and worked with them to develop a database of Black-owned businesses to include in the final project.”

“It’s important we have elevated into this culture and legacy that has been left behind,” says Shayne Herrera, the group’s president. A VCU senior, he’s concentrating on painting and printmaking. Too often, he’s the only African American in the room. “Paul met with us every week during the pandemic making sure that we can create this space of, you know, Black creativity and safeness.”

Ultimately, Rucker wants to enlist audiences in understanding a complicated and cruel history in order to move forward with compassion. Three Black Wall Streets, he says, is not just about something that happened 100 years ago. It’s about the ashes of destruction that smolder still.

“[Three Black Wall Streets] is also about student loans,” the artist says, and about owning real estate. People ask Rucker about his Klan robes all the time, he adds, admiring his ‘radical’ art work. “But the most radical thing I’ve done as a Black man — as an artist – is buy property.”

Rucker owns a house near the VCU campus, and what used to be Richmond, Virginia’s Black Wall Street, a place where the first Black woman became a bank president, in the early 1900s. Today, Rucker is one of only a couple of Black homeowners in the area. When the country’s Black Wall Streets were ravaged and ruined, he says, we were left with a moral and spiritual bankruptcy.

Man accused of plotting a mass shooting at Walmart arrested in Texas

Coleman Thomas Blevins is accused of plotting a mass shooting at a Walmart.

KERRVILLE, Texas – Authorities arrested a man accused of plotting a mass shooting at a Walmart. A search of the suspect’s home turned up firearms, ammunition and material officials described as “radical ideology paraphernalia.”

Coleman Thomas Blevins, 28, was arrested Friday and charged with making a “terroristic threat to create public fear of serious bodily injury,” the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Sunday.

Investigators said they intercepted a message from Blevins on Thursday indicating he was “preparing to proceed with a mass shooting,” and the threat included Walmart. Blevins was taken into custody the next day.

Texas walkout:Texas Democrats stage walkout to block state’s restrictive voting bill; Gov. Greg Abbott plans to call special session

Authorities searched his home and, according to the release, “firearms, ammunition, electronic evidence, concentrated THC, and radical ideology paraphernalia, including books, flags, and handwritten documents were seized.”

Blevins is on felony probation and was not supposed to have guns, the release said. He was booked into the Kerr County Jail in Kerrville, a city about 70 miles northwest of San Antonio. Jail records didn’t list an attorney who could comment on Blevins’ behalf.

6.1 magnitude quake rattles Alaska

A powerful magnitude 6.1 earthquake shook Alaska on Sunday evening, according to officials.

The quake hit just before 11 p.m. local time from an epicenter under the Talkeetna Mountains in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The temblor originated at a depth of 27 miles.

CALIFORNIA EARTHQUAKE RATTLES LAKE TAHOE AREA

The epicenter was about 45 miles south of Chickaloon and 55 miles north of Sutton, according to the USGS and Alaska Earthquake Center.

The magnitude 6.1 quake originated at a depth of 27 miles under the Talkeetna Mountains, about 100 miles north of Anchorage.

The magnitude 6.1 quake originated at a depth of 27 miles under the Talkeetna Mountains, about 100 miles north of Anchorage.
(U.S. Geological Survey)

Residents felt the quake from as far south as Homer to Fairbanks in the north – about a 580-mile range, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Many residents felt the earth rumble 100 miles away in Anchorage.

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Alaskans who felt the earthquake described it as “a long rumble” with a “big jolt in the middle” that sent objects flying off shelves, the paper reported. Another resident said the rumblings lasted for more than a minute and “grew in magnitude in waves.”

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.