By Deborah Bailey, Special to the AFRO

The Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway turned the tables as he was being honored by Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot this week at the 2018 Maryland Helping People Awards Ceremony.  Hathaway , pastor of Union Baptist Church in Druid Hill, Baltimore, transformed the ceremony by announcing a $300 million redevelopment proposal for West Baltimore’s McCullough Homes and appealing to Hogan and Franchot to use the power of their elected offices to fully fund Maryland’s HBCU’s.

“I’m going to deliver to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City a proposal to acquire and renovate McCullough Homes.  We’re going to transform this community,” Hathaway said.

Gov. Larry Hogan, Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway, Adaria Hathaway-Sogbor and Comptroller Peter Franchot at Helping People Awards Ceremony honoring Rev. Hathaway. (Courtesy Photo)

“It’s going to have five pillars – live, work, play, learn and worship. It’s going to be that kind of community. We’re going to make sure people have opportunities,” he added.

Hathaway told the gathering he has developed a national team to support the project, backing the concept with $300 million in funding.

“This is going to be the largest faith-based community development in the nation,” he said.

The annual Helping People Award has been awarded to an individual or organization in each county every year since 2012 by the comptroller. The award honors the public service legacy of the late William Donald Schaefer,  a longtime Baltimore mayor and former governor of Maryland.

Franchot asked Hogan to accompany him to the ceremony to bestow honors on Hathaway in what some were ready to label a pre-election photo opportunity. Instead, Hathaway graciously used the occasion to  advocate for the needs of the community.

“Let’s make sure  to level the playing field between our Black colleges and the other colleges and universities of our state,” Hathaway said in describing Union Baptist Church’s involvement in  founding Bowie State University in 1865.

“I’m asking the governor,  I’m asking those involved to make certain that we vouchsafe those schools. Bowie and Coppin, Morgan and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, they have been the schools that have been our opportunity and our ladder of success.   We want them to have every avenue, every bit of funding, every opportunity that our great state can provide,” Hathaway appealed.

Hogan and Franchot validated Hathaway’s fidelity and service to Baltimore and the State of Maryland with remarks about his long-term service.

“Rev. Hathaway is a fierce advocate for social justice and economic equality. He has lived his entire life in accordance with the creed of Union Baptist Church by worshipping, serving and empowering,” Hogan said in his remarks. He added, “I want to thank you every single day for the work you do changing Baltimore City and Maryland for the better.”

Franchot also said, “Dr. Hathaway your dedication to all the citizens of Baltimore cannot be overstated.”

In serving his community, Hathaway said he learned from Schaefer, after whom the award was named.

“William Donald Schaefer taught me you can disagree without being disagreeable,” Hathaway said. “You can advocate without being adversarial. ”