Prisons and Policing

Despite the claims made by some mainstream press, the Occupy Baltimore movement was not the biggest force around the resistance to the youth jail. These mass demonstrations were organized and carried out by Black organization. However, Hathaway Ferebee, the Executive Director of The Safe and Sound Campaign, was at the forefront of the “Affirmative Opportunity” event held last week at the War Memorial in downtown Baltimore featuring Rev. Jesse Jackson and a host of other politicians and clergy members. I can only conclude that this is an attempt to co-opt the genuine movement around improving the quality of life for Black youth in Baltimore.

Jerrell is a good guy. Smart and funny, he generally helped lighten the spirit of class. I taught Jerrell for two years, as a High School Junior and then again as a Senior. He was on my roster the next year, too. But only until he turned 21, and the school district's automated system dropped him from our roll when he “aged out” of the public school system.

Why would anyone get as far as senior year and then drop out? Why would he let all those years of hard work go to waste?

Supporter of the peace caravan led by Mexican poet Sicilia holds a banner during a rally (Courtesy Reuters).

A caravan calling itself The Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity rolled through the US last month, pushing for a handful of policy changes that would reduce drug-war violence in Mexico.  The most controversial demand was probably the decriminalization of drugs, though this is steadily getting grassroots traction in the US.  The other policy changes—better regulating arms trade, money laundering, and military aid—are not radical at all.

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Over the past weeks New Yorkers have been gathering to discuss how to fight the neo-Nazi party, which recently announced it was opening an office in Queens.

Audience looks on as Mary Washington testifies to the Maryland Senate Committee on Budget and Taxation. Photo by Leo Zimmermann.

People packed into a Maryland Senate briefing last week on Wednesday, October 17, in order to oppose a new youth jail in Baltimore.

Lisa Fithian organizing at G20. Photo By: Justin Merriman

This September 2012, The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and the Maryland American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought the city another symposium to honor Constitution Day. This year's symposium was titled "We The People: Freedom of Assembly and Political Speech." The panelists included: Dr. Cornel West, Lisa Fithian, and Lize Mogel. It was moderated by co-creator and producer of WYPR's radio arts program, The Signal, Aaron Henkin.

Concerned citizens gathered outside City Hall on October 17, 2012 to protest the hiring of Anthony W. Batts as Baltimore’s new police commissioner.

Caravan For Peace With Justice and Dignity

On September 8, 2012, dozens gathered at Sojourner-Douglass College for a panel talk about alternatives to the War on Drugs.  Speakers included former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, members of the Caravan for Peace, Laura Carlsen of the CIP Americas Program, Dominique Stevenson of the Friend of a Friend prison mentoring program, Jasmine Tyler of the Drug Policy Alliance, Maryland State Delegate Dan Morhaim, and Gillian Maxwell of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. Video and audio of the panel are found below.

Proposed site for new youth jail. Photo By: Reverend Heber Brown,III

During the recent Democratic National Convention before a raucous crowd and a national audience, Maryland Governor and Democratic Governors Association President, Martin O’Malley, stood to deliver his best argument as to why President Barack Obama deserved a second presidential term.


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