During a press conference, state and city officials revealed what the Thomas Kennedy statue will look like as they move forward with the new park on East Baltimore Street in Hagerstown.
The model of the Thomas Kennedy statue for the Thomas Kennedy Memorial Plaza project in Hagerstown honors the former Maryland legislator.
He created the “Jew Bill,” which allowed non-Christians to hold public office.
Officials revealed the piece done by internationally-known sculptor Toby Mendez.
“It’s about religious freedom and just one of the main stages of our constitution and fighting for others, other than yourself. He was a selfless person, and he took on an impossible task for the time,” Mendez said.
“It’s one of the most important pieces of historic legislation in the State of Maryland’s history. To have this statue be created in memory of Thomas Kennedy is a great thing for Hagerstown and Washington County,” Tom Riford, Executive Director, Thomas Kennedy Center, said.
A shofar; it’s a ram-horn trumpet used by ancient Jews to awake, and the statue has Kennedy holding it in his hand, which is an artistic detail that has such a deeper meaning.
“The fact that that element is part of the statue that embraces that aspect of Jewish symbolism, but also, that aspect of humanity that encourages us to hear and listen to one another. I think that’s an incredible contribution,” Rabbi Ari Plost, Conregation B’Nai Abraham, said.
Rabbi Plost hopes when people look at the statue in the future they reflect on how they can inspire even more growth and inclusion in society to carry on Kennedy’s legacy.
“It’s an important statue that helps us to look backwards, but also, it’s an incredible statue to help us look forward with hope,” Rabbi Plost said.
The official statue will stand eight feet tall and stand across from the synagogue in Hagerstown.