LARGO – Religious leaders and members of different faith organizations from all over Prince George’s County came together on Oct. 13 at the All Faiths United Prayer Breakfast to show their support for Angela Alsobrooks’ campaign for County Executive two weeks before the general election.
The event was organized by the National Capital Baptist Convention and invited over 100 churches from several denominations in order to give Alsobrooks “a good sendoff” before she assumes the role in the county’s highest office, the Rev. Charles W. McNeill said. She is running unopposed after Republican Jerry Mathis dropped out of the race in August.
“In order for the churches to be a valued part of the administration, we figured to bring everyone together and to start things on a right and spiritual note together with whatever god we serve,” McNeill said. “This is an all-faiths breakfast; it is not just for Baptists or Methodists, it is for all faiths including Catholics, Jews and Protestants.”
One by one, religious leaders delivered heartfelt prayers, asking for the improvement of the county, betterment in the local cities and best wishes to Alsobrooks and all newly elected officials. Vocalist Michelle Slaughter Clark performed two songs during the event that caused many to stand up and clap in unison in support.
“In my 16 years serving as pastor, I do not recall a single occasion when a county executive was elected and started their administration by bringing pastors together for a time of prayer,” The Rev. Dr. Darin Poullard from Fort Washington Baptist Church said.
For Alsobrooks, the breakfast was a chance to get together again with community leaders as she had done in her campaign during the primaries. However, she said that it was vital to touch base with those who supported her former rivals and hear their concerns.
“It is so wonderful that the leaders of our faith community would take time out of a Saturday morning in the rain to come out and pray for our county and our state; it’s just phenomenal,” Alsobrooks, who is a member of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden, said. “…These leaders do an amazing job in their communities, and it is important to recognize that government cannot do all the work alone.”
Attendee Sequan Swint, 25, was happy to see the number of people in attendance. The Clinton resident enjoyed his time at the event, but as an Alsobrooks supporter, it was great to see her interact with other county leaders.
“This was much needed,” Swint said. “You want to see your future leaders come together with current community leaders to make sure that everyone is on the same page moving forward to make the county better.”
“This was motivating,” Ariel London, 26, said. “This makes you want to do things in your community while seeing leaders come together; its no pressure for them but it is motivating for me to see it happen.”
The event, which took place at the University of Maryland University College Academic Center, had several Democratic politicians in attendance including a surprise appearance from MD Gov. nominee Ben Jealous. Despite going on a statewide tour during the whole weekend to gather up more support for his candidacy, Jealous said it was important to show support for the “future county executive.”
During her address, Alsobrooks cited the 50 percent drop in crime over the past eight years, according to Prince George’s County Police Department, and the importance of continuing “human development” together with the growing economy.
As the state’s attorney, working together with the county’s religious community was a “natural connection” and building off of that relationship will be important to grow Prince George’s when she is officially elected as the county executive.
“I do not care how well-intentioned we are, the government cannot do it all alone and shouldn’t do it all alone without the faith community being there with us as our partner,” Alsobrooks said. “…So I pledge to you that I will be available to you and eager to talk to you on a regular basis to hear the concerns of people and make sure the government is available and respond to you.”
The event ended with all the church leaders coming together for a prayer of unity with Alsobrooks and her parents placed in the center. Everyone in attendance gathered around the family in solidarity of prayer.
Together with “All Faith United” green neon hats provided to everyone, it was clear that Alsobrooks will have their support once fully elected in November.
“If I was a candidate, seeing this turnout and knowing that I have faith-based people behind me, I would be feeling great,” McNeill said. “It is a great feeling for her, and it is a great sendoff for her before getting to work.”