Salem United Inc. would like to thank all those who supported our 2021 event.   We will return to our tradition Salem Willows In the Park Event in 2022 and look forward to everyone returning to celebrate 282 years of Black History.  Our Theme:   Black History Matters.  

Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley,
U.S. Department of Stated Washington , D.C.

Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a 30-year diplomat, was the longest serving U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Malta. Through a series of senior positions that included advising the commander of U.S. cyber forces on U.S. foreign policy priorities, expanding the country's counterterrorism partners and programs as deputy coordinator for counterterrorism, and coordinating the largest evacuation of American citizens from a war zone since WW ll, her professional life has played out almost daily in international media.

She began her formal work in teaching and leadership development as chairwoman for Middle East area studies at the prestigious Foreign Service Institute where U.S. diplomats are trained. Earlier in her career, she served in Baghdad, Jakarta and Cairo before taking on the position of special assistant to the secretary of state for the Middle East and Africa. Her Middle East assignments include election monitoring in the Gaza Strip and, an extraordinary assignment where she actively supported gender equality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the first woman to lead a diplomatic mission there. In addition to serving at the State Department, she has held senior positions at the Defense Department and at the National Security Council of the White House. Prior to that, she was a fellow on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the then ranking member, Senator Joseph Biden. Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley is the recipient of the Maltese Order of Merit, Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards, including "For acts of courage during an attack on the U.S. Consulate General, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 6, 2004 by al-Qa'ida terrorists."

Over the years, Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley has been a keynote speaker for a variety of organizations including IESAbroad, The Cleveland City Club, TrueBlue Inclusion; Harvard University, The University of Denver, The University of Malta and Johns Hopkins University. She is an in-demand panelist and moderator at some of the most respected international think tanks including The German Marshall Fund, CSIS, The Brookings Institution, The World Affairs Council and The Council on Foreign Relations, on issues ranging from U.S. Middle-East policy, how diversity and inclusion improve U.S. foreign policy making, cyber security challenges and counterterrorism. She is a strong proponent of excellence through inclusion across organizations and strives to break down barriers to the full participation of women and minorities. She was ambassador-in-residence at Oberlin College for 2020, and served as the co-chair of the diversity in national security working group for the Biden-Harris campaign.

Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley, a Cleveland native, has degrees from the George Washington University and The Johns Hopkins University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has been an active board member for several organizations committed to excellence in educating and leadership development including the Forum for Education Abroad, College Now Greater Cleveland, and the International Career Advancement Association. She also serves on the boards of the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art and the Middle East Policy Council. She sings with the Washington Performing Arts Society and has been published in The New York Times opinion section and The Foreign Service Journal. She is the co-author of two papers published in The New York Review of Science Fiction on "Diplomacy in Star Trek" and "The Representation of Disability in Star Trek." In 2019, she was voted into the American Academy of Diplomacy.


Davron S. Monroe
Singer And Actor

Davron S. Monroe  is a Boston based award winning singer and actor with vocal talents that run the gamut from Opera to Musical Theatre, gospel to jazz and everything else in between.  Davron is the 2019 recipient of The Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Musical performance in Breath and Imagination the story of Roland Hayes, African-American classic concert artist (who was also a Boston based artist in the later years of his life).  Other performances of note include Murder on the Orient Express, The Wiz, Camelot, Company, My Fair Lady, City of Angels, Sweeney Todd, One Man, Two Guvnors, The Mikado, Avenue Q, and Ain’t Misbehavin’  (Lyric Stage Co.), The View Upstairs (Speakeasy Stage) The Little Mermaid, RAGTIME (Company Theatre), Man of La Mancha (New Rep), Caroline or Change, Godspell (Moonbox Productions), Hairspray (Reagle Music Theatre), Dreamgirls, Jesus Christ Superstar, Children of Eden, Songs for a New World (premiere, Key West Symphony, Broadway Across America), Smokey Joe’s Café, Cinderella, Streakin’!, a ’70s musical revue, and Sweet Charity.   Davron has also appeared with many orchestral and vocal organizations, such as Boston Landmarks Orchestra (Lost in the Stars – a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech, and The Chariot Jubilee),  Brevard Music Center, Finalist in the Orlando Opera’s Heinz Rehfuss Singing Actor Awards, Disney Entertainment’s Voices of Liberty, South Florida Symphony, Houston Ebony Opera Guild, the New England Spiritual Ensemble and many other organizations throughout the greater Boston area. Davron was the first recipient of the Bob Jolly Award for local actors. Future engagements include: Passing Strange- a show takes the audience from black middle-class America to Amsterdam, Berlin, and beyond on a journey towards personal and artistic authenticity with Moonbox Productions Dec. 2021 and Jelly's Last Jam- Story of Jelly Roll Morton African-American Jazz pioneer with New Repertory Theatre Company June 2022


Christopher Hyland

Christopher Hyland, born in Salem, is founder President of Christopher Hyland Incorporated, a world wide high end residential and contract textile company serving the design community, and he is CEO and design director of WCLI and Hylandtown, a mixed use Colorado real estate development project. The Salem Athenaeum of which he is a Proprietor has described him as “ the last Salem Merchant”. He is a recipient of a Saint Patrick Award for Peace in Ireland, was Dep.Nat.Political Director of the first Clinton Presidential campaign and Chair of eleven Presidential Transition Conferences, among them a first, the Clinton Irish Conference, Housing and Homelessness, Indian Country, Eastern Europe, and Design Towards an Inclusive America. To foster peace he encouraged change in American Northern Ireland policy. Visiting Israel, through the Mandelbaum Gate, for the first time in 1964 he, in summer 1966, lived on Kibbutz Ein Dor. He visited, starting in 1964, behind the Iron Curtain, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Kuwait, Dubai and Libya, traveling extensively throughout India, Communist China, and the Mediterranean emulating Salem traders of the past. As a boy he was greatly influenced by the worlds of the Salem, Athenaeum, Salem and Marblehead Libraries, and The Peabody Essex Museum. He recalls attending Salem Willows African American picnics with his parents Patricia and Samuel Hyland. Vella’s Hyland Mass in Concert is dedicated to Peace and Acceptance of diversity, most recently performed at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. His father was Chairman of the Salem City Counsel and his mother a sculptress. When, as a school boy, he asked how he could help, the in a heartbeat reply front Dr. Martin Luther King to Christopher’s question was “ Look evil in the eye, and give it no succor.”

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David Freeman Coleman


B.Mus in performance and composition from Boston University.  M.A. in composition from Tufts University.  Choral directing for 30 years.  Currently the Director of Choral Music at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley and director of the 225-voice Tufts University Third Day Gospel Choir at Tufts University.   Member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association (MMTA), and the American Society of Composers and Arrangers (ASCAP).


Actively involved in theater and gospel music throughout New England, David has served as music director and rehearsal pianist for several productions, including the 2012 Tony Award-winning production of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, and Choir Boy for which he received a 2020 Elliot Norton Award Nomination for Outstanding Musical Direction. Choirmaster and pianist for the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, he also has experience working with choirs for Mariah Carey, Bobby McFerrin, Patti Labelle, Phish, and Academy Award Nominee Ryan Gosling.  Performances at House of Blues, the Wang Center, Fenway Park, Symphony Hall, the Vatican, Carnegie Hall and the White House.  


In 2010, BBC World News America featured David in their “First Person” series which was broadcast to 300 million people worldwide.  Recognized by Boston musicians for his work in gospel music, David was the 2007 recipient of the Thomas A. Dorsey Award from the New England Conservatory.  In 2013, David received awards for Best Male Gospel Artist, Best Gospel Producer, and Best Gospel CD at the New England Urban Music Awards. 

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