I'm literally just a regular, working class black man who never had political aspirations up until I started running. But I believe that is a strength to my candidacy.
It's for the simple fact that I am a regular person that I feel qualifies me the most for becoming an elected representative of this district. Our elected officials should be regular people, working-class folks who understand that the way things are right now isn't working and want to push for real, tangible change!
My name is Adam Cunningham, I’m running for Maryland State Senate in the District 39. I’m 26 years old, married with 2 kids, and once I win I’ll be the first person in my family to have ever entered office.
I was born at the PG hospital in Landover. Throughout my life, my family was pretty nomadic, as we lived all over the place in MD. The earliest I can remember, we lived in Oxon Hill in PG County for a few years, then we moved to Indian Head in Charles County for a few years before being kicked out of that house and moving to Wheaton, where we spent the longest amount of time, about 7 years before we were kicked out of that house and then moving to the PG County side of Takoma Park, then Clinton, and so on and so forth before ending up where I currently live with my wife and kids in Germantown.
Throughout that time I continuously gained what you could call “experience” in dealing with living while Black. It’s these experiences that brought me to where I am now politically and socially.
Just like a lot of people, I’m sure, my life radicalized me. When I was old enough to understand, I found out that my family was essentially kicked out of the home we used to live in at Indian Head, because our landlord at the time had decided to sell the house while we were living in it, not even giving my mother a chance to buy it despite having the money and income to afford it at the time. Living in Wheaton, I was harassed by the police at 13 years old while I was walking a rent check to our landlord’s house (something I used to do all the time) all because I ran past their car at an intersection, literally nothing else. At the time I didn’t realize that I had been racially profiled but looking back that was most definitely the case.
Around that same time, I was convinced by my mother and family friends that I had an “entrepreneurial spirit” and so I began to sell my services doing odd jobs around my neighborhood, raking leaves and walking dogs, that sort of thing. At the time, however, the only reason I was doing any of that was because our family was struggling and I wanted to help bring some money into the house so we wouldn’t get evicted. By that point, our utilities (electric, gas and even water) had been shut off several times, a few times during the hottest months of summer and a few times during the coldest months of winter.
We ended up being kicked out of that house because our landlord decided that he didn’t want to rent the house to us anymore, and sued my mother for back rent. Interestingly enough, we were under a rent-to-own lease and were paying about $300 above what the rent was supposed to be under the impression that we were gonna use the extra money as a down payment to purchase the house at a later date. This all ended, however, with this individual suing my mom, garnishing her wages, and pocketing tens of thousands of dollars in extra money that he didn’t deserve that was meant to go for the down payment.
At our next house, it was hard to make ends meet because the rent was still too high and my mother’s wages were still too low. I remember my mom, sister and myself having to cart backpacks and bags full of empty bottles to Long Branch Library so that we could fill them with water to wash ourselves and stuff, and bailing mosquito-infested water out of our recycle bin at our house to use to flush the toilets. I was also a student at Montgomery Blair High School before we moved, and even though where we moved was literally closer to the school than where we lived in Wheaton, I was kicked out of the school and not allowed to continue going there. We tried petitioning the school and negotiating with the principal, but it failed.
After graduating high school and moving to Clinton, I got accepted to the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Most days I spent driving hours to get to that college, in between the time I spent at my full-time, 40+ hours per week yet only making $12/hr jobs at Pizza Hut and Goodwill respectively, at least up until my mother’s car got repossessed and I ended up having to take the bus and train to get from Clinton to Baltimore. There was a time where I missed the last B30 bus that was the connecting route from BWI to Greenbelt, and ended up having to sleep at the airport until the next bus came in the morning because I had no money to catch an uber/taxi or MARC train. On top of that, it was early February of 2014, one of the coldest years on record in Maryland thus far, and I was near the entrance where every time the door opened the wind would blow in hard. It was then that I felt the hardest for the unhoused folks in this state who had to face such elements on a near daily basis.
It was all of these experiences that I and those close to me had that brought me to the conclusion that it ain’t our faults that this is happening to us, at least not entirely! It’s this system that we allow to persist, with its inherent inequalities, unjust and unnecessary hierarchies and bureaucracies that stall progress and help for everyone, including those who need it most.
When I became of age, I was ordained as a deacon of my home church, No Limits Outreach Ministries, and helped continue our work of bettering the lives of communities in Southeast DC through food outreach, clothes and toy drives, and direct aid to the homeless for over 4 years and counting. To this day, it's an exhilarating and spirit-lifting experience being able to join with dozens of other like-minded folk just helping out those who need help (with no-strings attached!), but I wanted to do more. I want to try and help more people, especially those closer to home. I want to bring awareness to the fact that the phrase "We Keep Us Safe" is a tangible goal and a reality we as a society can strive for, whether it's something as simple as folks helping other folks or as grand as restructuring how we approach the issues we face in our daily lives.
I’m running on one of the most progressive left platforms we could possibly think of, with the full intention of putting these proposals to action from my first day entering office. That said, my main goal throughout this campaign is to raise awareness of the community-based solutions we can have towards solving these problems, outside the influence of the State or the government at large. This includes promoting mutual aid strategies, and tactics that can be immediately utilized to better the lives of those around us and ourselves.