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Mark Talley is the son of Geraldine C. Talley, who was killed in the Tops shooting by a white supremacist on May 14th, 2022. Prior to this date, Mark just went along through the trials and tribulations of life believing there was nothing he could do, he was just powerless. His father left him and his mother when he was barely 10 years old. Although Mark proved to be very smart throughout his junior school years, things changed in his freshman year of high school. Mark started hanging out with the wrong crowd and his grade point average went from a 4.0 to a 1.9. His mother, sensing something was wrong, was able to get him transferred into one of the most prominent high schools in the state, Canisius. Mark graduated from Canisius in 2007 with a 3.0 grade point average and attended College in Detroit, Mi at Wayne State University.

Being 18 years old and away from his mother for the first time, things did not go as planned. Too much partying and not enough studying led to him dropping out and being at a standstill in life. Mark couldn’t get back on track until he received an email from his mother stating “I really thought you had more planned in life once you moved to Detroit.” After feeling a sense of disappointment, Mark moved back home to Buffalo and went to Erie Community College and Buffalo State University and in the process, obtained a dual bachelor’s degree of Science in Economics & Urban Planning. With the degrees obtained, Mark thought he was ready to go into corporate America, but unfortunately, he had more hurdles to jump over. In his early 20s, Mark was diagnosed with Partial Complex Epilepsy. Although they were easier to control in his early 20s, as he aged, they became more frequent and harder to deal with. This eventually led to every job he landed,having to fire him due to him taking too many sick days because of his epilepsy. Fortunately, in his late 20s / early 30s, he became epilepsy free, however his degrees became worthless in the eye’s of companies. Nobody wanted to hire a 30-year-old with degrees from a decade ago with only sporadic experience. Due to this, Mark changed his career path, took a civil service exam, and obtained a security position with the county hospital working in behavioral health.

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At this point, Mark was content with life. It wasn’t the life he wanted, but better than what life had given him so far. All of this would eventually change come one Saturday afternoon. On May 14th, 2022, between 2:28pm-2:31pm, Mark was informed that a shooting was happening at Tops on Jefferson Ave in Buffalo, NY and his mother was inside. Although there was no word that his mother was one of the victims, mentally and emotionally Mark expected the worse and his worst fear was confirmed later that night. Once it was confirmed that this was a terrorist attack by a white supremacist, Mark couldn’t take it anymore. Afraid of what he would say or do, Mark just started volunteering everywhere he could on Jefferson Ave for the next several months to channel his emotion. After doing all this volunteering, Mark started feeling an urge to become more of a community leader / social advocate. This eventually led to him organizing his first charitable event on July 7th, 2022 “The Community BBQ and Prayer”. Mark in collaboration from others was able to serve over 700 hots and hamburgers along with providing bags of fresh produce, gifts, appliances, and meats. Currently, Mark is opening his own not-for-profit called Agents for Advocacy and planning a back-to-school drive to provide 1000 children with backpacks, paper, calculators, pens/pencils, folders, notebooks and binders.