CommUNITY Gathering, 2015
The CommUNITY Gathering was held on July 18, 2015 on the grounds of St. Paul's Lutheran Church on Washington Street in Cumberland. Sponsored by Allegany County Branch #7007 of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and local clergy, the purpose of the event was to "reflect and promote the unity of Allegany County residents in support of civil rights and social justice." The event was one of several held locally in direct response to the shootings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015 which took the lives of nine people.
Led by Pastor Alfred Deas of the Cumberland Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, speakers and attendees included:
- Carmen Jackson, Allegany County NAACP President
- Michael McKay, Maryland House of Delegates
- Bill Valentine, President, Board of Allegany County Commissioners
- Craig Robertson, Sheriff of Allegany County
- Charles Hinnant, Chief of Police, Cumberland, Maryland
- Robin Summerfield, Office of U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin
- Other local law enforcement personnel were among those in the audience
Clergy speaking and actively participating included:
- Pastor Marsha Garrett, St. Paul's Lutheran Church
- Pastor Alfred Deas, Cumberland Metropolitan A.M.E. Church
- Reverend Rebecca Vardiman, Centenary United Methodist Church
- Rabbi Stephen Sniderman, B'er Chayim Temple
- Pastor Kenneth Watkins, Souls Won Ministry
- Numerous other clergy were in the audience
Entertainment was provided by:
- Lights of Angels (LOA) mime group from the Cumberland Metropolitan A.M.E Church
- Tamu Debbie Beckward
- Kevin Woods
- Co-pastor Shannon Watkins
- Lynn Bowman
The CommUNITY Gathering event is the first in a series of activities sponsored by the Allegany County NAACP to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as well as the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The afternoon concluded with a joining of hands and the singing of "We Shall Overcome."
Photographs by Albert L. Feldstein depict dancer and artistic freedom fighter Tamu Debbie Beckward, who is described elsewhere on this website under the Entertainment chapter, and a depiction of a portion of the audience.
Allegany County, Maryland
African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008