December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

Members of IVAW and CivSol. (Photo by IVAW)

Squeezed in between superstorm Sandy and the election madness, the 2012 joint convention of IVAW and CivSol was a brief oasis of intentionality and solidarity. We gathered in Baltimore, Maryland just a day after the storm. People traveled from across the country. From waterlogged New York City to the sunny San Francisco Bay Area, from Texas to Toronto, veterans, active duty service members, and civilian allies gathered not only to continue the struggle against militarism but also to celebrate our community of activists.

Photo by Healthcare-NOW! of Maryland

On Saturday, December 15, 2-5 pm, Marylanders from throughout the state will gather at St. John Baptist Church in Columbia to launch our statewide campaign, Healthcare is a Human Right – Maryland. Building on our shared history of working towards single payer health care and protecting our human rights in Maryland and inspired by a successful effort in Vermont, this new campaign will focus on growing the grassroots support necessary to ensure that our basic human right to health is protected in Maryland through the establishment of a publicly-funded, universal single-payer healthcare system.

This past summer 2012, Equality Maryland put together a Public Service Announcement (PSA) representing a host of community members that identify as allies of transgender populations. Equality Maryland is the largest statewide organization working to secure and protect the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Marylanders. Recently, the passage of the Marriage Equality Bill has been their main focus.

Dovetail is an interview series that focuses on the subject of social movements, with special attention given to movement-building here in the Baltimore area. As the title suggests, a major aim of the series will be to look at where the various activist-efforts taking place in Baltimore fit together, reinforce each other, intersect, and so on. Put differently, a central theme will be identifying how the different "parts" of social movements interact with each other in such a way that fosters the growth and development of these "parts" and a larger, popular movement. Here, in the first installment of Dovetail, Kalima Young explains how her work with the Baltimore Art + Justice Project seeks to strengthen "art as a tool for social justice."

The Allentown community in Baltimore city held a New Orleans-style "funeral march" to protest the closing of the rec centers on August 10, 2012. Photo by Alana Smith.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake chose to close four centers in West Baltimore, all were about two miles from one another. Parkview was named one of the centers to be shut down at the end of summer, along with Crispus Attucks, Central Rosemont, and Harlem Park. But Parkview remains in use, unlike the others. “I hope they don’t close it down,” Kim Hall, grandmother and caretaker to a boy that goes to the after school program, said. “It’s good and keeps the kids off the streets.”

On the evening of Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, Social Justice & Peace activists staged a vigil in the historic Mount Vernon Place district of Baltimore City to end the wars. Featured on this video are Max Obuszewski and Sharon Black. The demonstration was sponsored by the Pledge of Resistance Baltimore.