Montgomery, AL (Gumptown Magazine, 2015)- The Alabama Democratic Conference held its Annual Convention last weekend, May 15-16 at the Renaissance Hotel & Spa in Montgomery, Alabama. The theme for this yearly event was “Black Lives Matter: Vote.” Hundreds traveled from all corners of Alabama to attend this event.
The conference kicked off with the Q.D. Adams prayer breakfast. “Black lives have always mattered,” voiced Rev. Raymonda Speller, the guest speaker for the morning. Rev. Speller is the Senior Pastor of Community Congregational United Church of Christ in Montgomery. His speech compared the recent events in Ferguson and Baltimore to the anti-lynching campaigns spearheaded by Ida B. Wells back in the early 1900’s. “We must stand by our flag poles and publish our message.”
Afterwards, the conference broke off into three workshop sessions: “Black Lives Matter at the Polls: Presence and Power”, “Black Lives Matter in Law Enforcement: Changing Perceptions and Police Practices”, and “Black Lives Matter in Political Leadership: Image vs. Effectiveness?”
Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey and Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham were two of the panelist for the workshop dealing with changing perceptions and police practices. They both had common views about being involved with the community.
“We have to be involved with the community so they can trust the decisions we make,” said District Attorney Bailey. “Participate in every community activity you can and let them know who you are.”
Sheriff Cunningham stated “We need to build a bridge. We have to educate the community about things that they feel are injustice.”
The Reverend Nelson B. Rivers, III of North Charleston, South Carolina was the guest speaker for the luncheon. He delivered a fiery speech that had the crowd standing to their feet. “If you are not willing to serve, you cannot lead” he said as he was explaining how the Black Lives Matter movement takes organization and leadership. He ended his speech with the story of the Retzsch painting “Checkmate”.
The Alabama Democratic Party was organized in 1960.