September 02, 2021
Letter to the editor — Initial NAACP successes
Credit: The Garrett County Republican, Devin Barroga
To the editor:
On Aug. 21, the Garrett County NAACP branch held its inaugural picnic and member meeting. It was a wonderful event, filled with sunshine, celebration and connection.
Taking place at Broadford Lake’s Pavilion #5, the picnic welcomed more than 50 individuals who represented a blend of GCNAACP members and community guests.
CDC guidelines were followed, which involved proper mask wearing — we provided masks and hand sanitizer to picnic attendees — and social distancing via properly spaced picnic tables and event booths.
We also were thrilled to welcome distinguished guests, including Ryan Harrod, dean of academic affairs at Garrett College.
Through the help of several generous individuals — GCNAACP members Tiffany Rains of The Alley, Mountain Lake Park Mayor Don Sincell, Bob and Mary Helen Spear, and Harriet Douglas, among others — GCNAACP was able to offer fun activities, complimentary food, music, a welcome booth and a table for attendees to donate, sign up for GCNAACP membership, order GCNAACP shirts and more.
We’d like to thank all of our member volunteers for making this event a success. Together, we not only held an entertaining and engaging event, but also ensured that we connected with our community.
Along with the picnic portion, GCNAACP held its first member meeting.
During our meeting, we discussed our current efforts and how we plan to move forward. Kate Smith, our vice president, was presented with an engraved plaque commemorating her leadership. She also received a proclamation signed by all three commissioners recognizing her contribution to forming the GCNAACP branch and facilitating a discussion of diversity, equity and inclusiveness in the county.
An important note: Garrett County NAACP represents the last county to form an NAACP chapter in the state of Maryland.
Prior to our inaugural picnic, Congressman David Trone sat down with Garrett County NAACP at Ace’s Run Restaurant & Pub (along with our neighboring chapter, Allegany NAACP) to discuss racial inequity in Western Maryland. Trone intently listened and offered several suggestions. We thank him for having our back as we work toward diversity, equity and inclusion in the mountains of Maryland.
What these two events represent, in our collective mind, is a path of unity through equality in Garrett County.
What we envision is not to change what makes our rural mountain community special — breathtaking nature, slower pace of life, down-to-earth folks — but to help make Garrett County a welcoming and safe place for all visitors and residents.
And judging by the success and feedback, our community members are ready to walk hand in hand towards a more inclusive future.
Devin Barroga, Communications Chair
Garrett County NAACP Branch