On Monday October 24th, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland and the Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP) sent a letter to Baltimore Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, demanding intervention in the discriminatory and illegal denial of overflow shelter beds to homeless women at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Housing and Resource Center. Currently, only homeless men are provided with additional beds at another location once the 250-bed shelter is full.
The president of the Baltimore AFL-CIO, Ernie Grecco, along with twleve other union leaders wrote a letter to Mayor Rawlings-Blake urging the city to allow for the Occupy Baltimore encampment to continue. This comes just one day after the city declared the encampment illegal, threatening to evict the near one month protest.
Occupy encampments continue across the country, including in Baltimore, where over the weekend Pan-African theorist Max Rameau gave a teach-in and addressed the General Assembly. Rameau is an organizer with the Take Back the Land movement, which uses direct action to push for community control over land.
On the northwest corner of The Fallsway and Centre Street in downtown Baltimore City, there used to sit an inconspicuous brick warehouse that housed offices for the City's Department of Transportation. Earlier this year, however, a new banner appeared above one of the corrugated metal garage doors that proclaimed, “Future Home of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Housing and Resource Center.” The banner included a computer-generated image of a shiny new building overlooking The Fallsway on an idyllic sunny day. This old warehouse would be transformed into a dedicated year-round 24-hour homeless shelter, meant to replace the old derelict shelter on Guilford Avenue.
Indyreader caught up with community activist, Reverend Heber Brown, at the end of the Stop the Youth Jail march this last Tuesday. He spoke on some of Baltimore's fundamental issues that the majority of the city's population faces, as well as positives and potential challenges that the growing Occupation Movement may have within the city.
Baltimore has never been a model city for addressing urban homelessness. From the old Oasis shelter that was closed shortly after a female client was sexually assaulted, to the city's first year-round 24-hour shelter, dubbed Code Blue, that had conditions described as “shocking for a First World country”, Baltimore's growing homeless population is continually neglected and underserved.
As people gathered into a large room on the third floor of a University of Maryland Medical Center building on June 14th, there were a lot of friendly conversations and familiar greetings among those in attendance. It was clear that this was a group of people where many folks already knew each other, both professionally and personally.
The Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, House Bill 235, was one of the most controversial pieces of legislation this year. It died on the Senate floor this afternoon, Monday, April 11th, 2010.
The bill aimed to protect transgender and gender-deviant/variant individuals in places of employment, housing, and credit. It wasn’t only highly debated between conservatives and liberals, per the usual “Who is more human than another?” - but was also contentiously fought between Baltimore’s LGBTQ community.