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Bridging the Divide - Saying "No" to Hate, 2016

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Bridging the Divide - Saying "No" to Hate

In response to the recent deaths and shootings across the country an event entitled, "Coming Together to Honor All Victims of Violence - Bridging the Divide" was held on July 12, 2016 at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Washington Street in Cumberland. Sponsored by Allegany County Branch #7007 of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and attended by over 250 people the purpose of the event was to develop healthy relationships between the community and police. The event also provided an opportunity for the community to come together as one as a remembrance to honor the lives of those lost to violence.

"I had the unfortunate privilege of seeing a community torn apart by violence (Chicago's Cabrini-Green Public Housing Project). I got to live in a war zone, I know what that looks like and I know we don't want it here. We are here collectively defining our community. Before any group can come in here and tell us who to hate, we're here to say 'no hate' "...Carmen Jackson, Allegany County NAACP President

"This is a start. We need to start communications in order for us to tackle the violence in our communities"...Craig Robertson, Sheriff of Allegany County

"This is not a night we're going to forget soon"... Jake Shade, President, Board of Allegany County Commissioners

"Together we can and we will address these issues to make this a safer and better place to live and raise our families"...Charles Hinnant, City of Cumberland Police Chief

Speakers and attendees included:
- Carmen Jackson, Allegany County NAACP President
- Michael McKay, Maryland House of Delegates
- Jake Shade, President, Board of Allegany County Commissioners
- Bill Valentine, Board of Allegany County Commissioners
- Craig Robertson, Sheriff of Allegany County
- Charles Hinnant, Chief of Police, Cumberland, Maryland
- Lieutenant H.B. Martz, Maryland State Police
- Royce Douty, Chief of Police, City of Frostburg
- Robin Summerfield, Office of U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin
- Michael Twigg, Allegany County States Attorney
- Heather Harmon, Cumberland Setusfree
- Jeff Getty, Allegany County Circuit Court Judge
- Mark Widmyer, Governor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Woody Getz, City of Frostburg, Councilman
- Numerous other local law enforcement personnel were among those in the audience

Clergy speaking and actively participating included:
- Pastor Caroline Kelly, First Presbyterian Church
- Pastor Marsha Garrett, St. Paul's Lutheran Church
- Pastor Alfred Deas, Ministry of Encouragement and former Pastor, Cumberland Metropolitan A.M.E. Church
- Reverend Rebecca Vardiman, Centenary United Methodist Church
- Rabbi Mark Perman, B'er Chayim Temple
- Pastor Kenneth Watkins, Souls Won Ministry
- Pastor Rick Shives
- Dr. Riaz Janjua, President, Islamic Society of Cumberland
- Numerous other clergy were in the audience

Immediately following the event law enforcement officials, clergy representing each faith and others released sixty doves provided by Carson D. Reinhart of "On the Wings of a Dove." In directing the audience outside to view the release, volunteer Albert Feldstein closed the gathering with the following quote (paraphrased) from the prophet Jeremiah: Care for the city in which you live, for in its welfare is your own.


On August 25, 2016 a follow-up gathering was held at the First Presbyterian Church. Fifty-one (51) community leaders attended this work session entitled,“Cumberland Community Strengthening Summit.” How to connect to the community, how to partner with each other and a framework with recommendations for future action were among the specific and focused upon items discussed and facilitated in small group discussions. Attendees and representatives included:

- Representatives from the faith communities
- Law enforcement officials from the Allegany County Sheriff's Office, the City of Cumberland Police Department, the State Correctional Institutions and Frostburg State University Campus Police
- The States Attorney’s Office, Circuit Court and legal profession
- The NAACP, Western Maryland Food Bank, Allegany College of Maryland, the Allegany County Board of Education, Frostburg State University (several departmental staffs and faculty, including students from the Communications Studies Program who helped facilitated the summit)
- The Western Maryland Health System, Allegany County Health Department
- Individuals representing Bridges to Opportunity, homeless advocacy, Community Unity in Action, Neighborhood Associations, Allegany County Life-Long Learning, B.R.I.D.G.E.S., Friends Aware (developmentally disabled adults), Allegany-Garrett County UniServe (Maryland State Education Association) and the Allegany County Teachers Association.


Albert Feldstein

Photographs by Albert L. Feldstein
Photograph #1 depicts Allegany County NAACP President Carmen Jackson on the right with local and state law enforcement representatives and others on the left
Photograph #2 depicts Board of Allegany County Commissioners President Jake Shade addressing the audience
Photograph #3 depicts representatives from the local faith community and law enforcement preparing to release sixty doves following the event

For additional information see the article entitled, "Locals Honor Victims of Violence" by Heather B. Wolford which appeared in the July 13, 2016 edition of the Cumberland Times-News


Collection Location:
Allegany County, Maryland

African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.

Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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