Stan Maclin, longtime community activist, dies at 67

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 6:28 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — On Monday, family members confirmed Stan Maclin, an activist in the city of Harrisonburg, died at the age of 67.

According to friends, Maclin was born in Peoria, Illinois, and grew up on his father’s farm. They said he lived part of his life in Richmond before moving to Harrisonburg to finish his degree at Eastern Mennonite University, and that’s when he saw how much good he can do in the Friendly City.

Many may know Maclin as the man who put together two peace rallies in the city of Harrisonburg last summer following the death of George Floyd. At the time, Maclin took action to make sure voices were heard.

“He’s a community leader and an inspirational leader and a unifier,” Frank Scottaceti, the criminal justice planner for Rockingham County and Harrisonburg, said.

Scottaceti said Maclin created the People’s Equality Commission of the Shenandoah Valley (PECO) and made it a goal to make more connections with the Harrisonburg Police Department.

The groups created different summits throughout the year for the community to interact with and for police officers to answer questions.

“It was a meaningful step that will enhance our police department and our citizens’ relationship,” Maclin said back in August. “We want to do that. I believe we have the ability to be an all-American city and we can be an example to others.”

Maclin also played a large role years ago in renaming Cantrell Avenue in Harrisonburg to Martin Luther King Jr. Way — A name he would continue to honor by holding a march on MLK Day in the Friendly City.

“At the end of the march, everyone would gather at the church, and he would have special guest speakers and there would be a gathering, " Deanna Reed, Mayor of Harrisonburg, said.

Adding even more to his legacy, Maclin founded the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center in 2010 off of Reservoir Street. Visitors to the center can see a Harriet Tubman timeline, and information and displays about a local slave safe house.

The project is still continuing to expand, as Maclin purchased a slave home that has started to be rebuilt on the center’s property. Friends and family told WHSV the center is a part of Maclin’s legacy that will continue to expand.

“He was a great man and we lost a true king,” Marving Roane, a long-time friend of Maclin said. “His vision was to improve the community and it just wasn’t limited to the Black or African American community, but he saw all people working together.”

Roane said he could remember Maclin was a world traveler and went with him on his first trip to Africa. Roane said he realizes now that Maclin was more than just a friend — he was a mentor.

Last summer when WHSV interviewed Maclin about the peace rallies, his closing statement was this:

“I’m about the business of helping Harrisonburg become that model community there’s a reason why there is no rioting or ill will action here,” Maclin said. “We want to be people everywhere acting courageously every day.”

PECO will be holding a zoom meeting Tuesday night to honor Maclin and you may join using the following link:

Maclin’s family is in the process of grieving his loss and will provide an obituary and directions for condolences in due time.

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