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Locals come together to honor community leader

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A prayer luncheon was held at the Radisson Hotel to remember an influential community leader, Wednesday.

The Hope Chapel A.M.E Zion Church and Kiwanis Club, banded together in order to host the luncheon honoring James Blackshear.

Blackshear, a Utica native, attended the Utica School of Commerce and SUNY-IT before becoming the Executive Director of the Cosmopolitan Center for 22 years.

He was also a self-proclaimed "hands-on" leader within the community, and was instrumental in bridging the who community together over the years.

"When there was a problem, if somebody needed food, if somebody needed clothing, James was there," said event co-chair, David Mathis. "If there was a gang fight at Proctor, James was there.

"Whatever this community needed, he was willing to step up and be there."

Blackshear was a member of The Hope Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church for more than 40 years.

Each year, this luncheon is held in his honor with the funds raised going towards either the Blackshear Memorial Scholarship or to the Church.

This year, the funds will be going to the Church, which is celebrating its 165th anniversary.

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