* In January, the U.S. Department of Justice and the City of Baltimore agreed on a consent decree requiring reforms of the Baltimore Police Department (read OSI’s statement). OSI and its grantees played a pivotal role in the process, ensuring that community voices were heard and hosting public meetings with Department of Justice officials.
* In February, OSI-Baltimore Director Diana Morris joined Health Commissioner Leana Wen and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis to officially launch the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program with OSI coordination and funding. LEAD reduces the number of people jailed for low-level drug offenses by diverting offenders to treatment and other support services and away from arrest.
* Also in February, OSI grantee Baltimore Education Coalition led a rally of thousands in Annapolis, successfully urging state lawmakers to #FixtheGapin funding for Baltimore City Public Schools
* In March, historian and OSI Advisory Board member Taylor Branch gave a talk as part of OSI’s Talking About Race series on “Civil Rights in the Trump Era.” And in April, James Forman, Jr. talked about his “superb and shattering” (per New York Times) book, “Locking Up Our Own: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in Black America,” as part of the same series. In May and June OSI hosted two events talking about race and harm reduction.
* Also in April, OSI launched the Safe City Baltimore initiative to provide legal services to local immigrants whose due process was threatened by stepped up Federal enforcement. In November, OSI joined Mayor Pugh to announce the service providers for the initiative.
* Also in April, OSI announced plans to work with Baltimore City Public Schools to integrate restorative practices throughout the district over the next five years. (See the district’s new restorative practices web page.)
* During the legislative session, the OSI-supported Coalition for a Safe and Just Maryland led a successful effort to block a bail industry-backed bill from reversing progress on bail reform in Maryland.
* In June, the OSI-supported Bard High School Early College graduated its first class.
* In July, the Baltimore Sun profiled OSI’s Community Fellows program in its 20th year, Sparks for Change: Open Society fellows have tested new ideas for Baltimore for 20 years.
* In August, OSI announced funding for two positions within the Baltimore Police Department to help reform its culture and promote equity.
* Also in August, OSI collaborated with the Health Department on activitiesto promote International Overdose Awareness Day.
* In October, author Paul Butler talked about transforming policing in America and in November, The Undefeated founder Kevin Merida and former WNBA player Tanisha Wright talked about Sports, Identity, and Race, both as part of OSI’s Talking About Race series.
* Also in November, OSI announced its 20th cohort of Community Fellows.
Needless to say, this is just a sampling of the many ways Open Society Institute-Baltimore works every day to create a better, more just Baltimore for all of its residents.
Bold Thinking, Strategic Action, Justice for All.