Owen Smith. Photo: Clayton Conn

For thirteen years, the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) has been commemorated both to honor those who have died at the hands of anti-trans hatred and to bring visibility to lives that are so often forgotten. On November 20, Baltimore gathered in memorial for TDOR.

“I think I have some sense of what neighborhoods in Baltimore are like and what they need.”
-M.J. “Jay” Brodie, President, Baltimore Development Corporation

“I think I have some sense of what neighborhoods in Baltimore are like and what they need.” That was, in part, M.J. Brodie’s response to my critique of his agency’s impact on Baltimore’s Black Community. He knows what our neighborhoods are like and he knows what we need. Really?

Photo: Clayton Conn

On the eve of the two month anniversary of Occupy Baltimore, participants and allies of the emerging movement gathered at the 2640 Space to reflect upon the previous two months of an intensive experiment in mass participatory democracy; it's successes, pitfalls, challenges and potential new directions.

Baltimore City Logo

Members of the Baltimore City Council held an investigative hearing yesterday regarding allegations of gender discrimination and intimidation at the new City-funded homeless shelter, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Housing and Resource Center (HRC). The hearing comes just ten days after City police forcefully removed over 300 students and advocates from staging an overnight “sleep-out” in front of City Hall to raise awareness about homelessness, despite being allowed to do so in previous years.

Denial letter page 1

This past week the City of Baltimore denied a permit request submitted by Occupy Baltimore to maintain their now two-month-old encampment at McKeldin Square. The denial was sent by letter from Gregory Bayor, director of the Department of Recreation and Parks, prohibiting the request to remain at the inner harbor site legally through to April 2012.

Right off the large main lobby of Healthcare for the Homeless in downtown Baltimore, there is a small, tile-floored room with folding tables and plastic stackable chairs. Offering some small respite from the loud TVs and chatter of dozens of people in the main lobby, the room reminds me of a school classroom.

On a hot August morning, I sat down with James Crawford at a table in the apartment building where he lives on North Avenue. I had first called him less than 24 hours before, and he had told me to come see him the next morning at eleven. As we sat alone in a large room full of chairs, tables, and couches, in what I guessed was the lobby of the apartment building, I asked him about his work for Bmore Housing For All (BHFA), an activist organization of currently or formerly homeless people and their allies in which he is an active member.



To the Baltimore Development Corporation, We, the undersigned authors and endorsers of this letter, feel that it is time to have a little talk.

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.







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