Rock Me Don't Shake Me concert brings awareness to child abuse
This is the 11th year for the Rock Me Don’t Shake Me – Musicians Against Child Abuse event and the goal is still the same as when it first started – to raise awareness for and educate about the incidence of child abuse.
Richard “Nink” Myers of Hagerstown knows the personal toll of child abuse all too well. His daughter’s son, Justice C.C. Myers-Cannon, was only four months old when he died in 2007. Justice was shaken by his mother’s then-boyfriend.
A group of family, friends and local politicians spent almost a decade lobbying for justice for Justice.
A criminal justice reform bill called “Justice’s Law” first passed in Maryland in 2012.
An expanded version passed in 2016, increasing the penalty from up to 40 years to up to life in prison for those found guilty of child abuse resulting in death for a child younger than 13.
Rock Me Don’t Shake Me was started as a way to advocate for child abuse victims and help with prevention.
The annual event grows every year. Last year, there were 10 bands at the Warehouse at Breakaway II Sports Lounge, which donates the venue.
This year, 12 Tri-State groups are donating their time and music to the cause.
Doors open at 1 p.m. and music kicks off at 1:55 p.m. with Mike Lushbaugh of the Cruisers doing the National Anthem on saxophone. Three student bands from the Maryland Institute of Music are also participating and will play a few pieces each.
“There’s nothing better than kids giving back to kids,” Myers said.
Bands play about a 45-minute set, with a break between bands. A new band starts playing each hour and will play until about 1 a.m.
This is the first year for advertising the fundraiser on the large electronic billboard on Pennsylvania Avenue across from Spicher’s Appliance & Electronics.
“Pretty much everything we do goes through the foundation to local organizations that help kids,” said Myers, of the newly created foundation, Justice’s SAKE. SAKE stands for Supporting All Kids Endlessly.
Those organizations include Safe Place of Washington County, Washington County Court Appointed Special Advocates, Hospice of Washington County, CASA of Washington County, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness of Washington County and the South Mountain Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse and three other divisions.
Myers spends about 10 months planning the fundraiser, which includes a handful of raffles. Some raffle items include a large Date Night Basket, four Bonanza Extravaganza tickets and gift cards to local restaurants and businesses.
There are links on the Facebook page to purchase raffle tickets for those who aren’t able to attend the event.
Last year, the event raised more than $19,000 and Myers hopes to top that this year.
“We seem to grow a little every year. ... The creative things we try to do, more bands, new bands, stretch out the day longer,” Myers said.
“It’s all about helping kids.”
Top photo: Nink Myers of Hagerstown organizes the Rock Me Don’t Shake Me – Musicians Against Child Abuse event, now in its 11th year. (Photo by Colleen McGrath)