Jan 11 – OSI’s Diana Morris and Tara Huffman publish Baltimore Sun op-ed, “Baltimore must prioritize police reform”: “To improve public safety, the city must use the consent decree to rethink the role of police in Baltimore. This means taking specific steps to change the culture of the BPD to embrace oversight and accountability and shift to a guardian mentality that helps residents truly feel protected and valued as partners.”
Jan 22 – Thanks to fierce opposition from the OSI-supported Coalition to Reform School Discipline, the Baltimore City School Board voted unanimously to oppose HB31, a bill that would have allowed school police to carry guns inside school buildings.
Jan 25 – OSI releases Building on the Unger Experience: A cost-benefit analysis of releasing aging prisoners, which detailed OSI’s support for a group of almost 200 aging prisoners being released from the prison system and found that their release resulted in a projected savings of $185 million to Maryland taxpayers with no impact on public safety.
Feb 13 – More than 700 people attend OSI’s Talking About Race event, a conversation between Steve Luxenberg, author of Separate: The Story of Plessy vs. Ferguson and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation, and Chief Judge Robert Bell, the first African-American chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Feb 25 – OSI announces that Director Diana Morris would step down in June.
Feb 27 – OSI’s Leadership Council meets with Jabari Lyles, the Baltimore Mayor’s LGBTQ Affairs Liaison and board chair and former executive director of OSI grantee GLSEN Maryland, and Mark Procopio, executive director of OSI grantee FreeState Justice to discuss their advocacy on LGBTQ issues in Baltimore City Public Schools.
Mar 25 – OSI hosts its second Talking About Race event of the year, a conversation between Dr. Beverly Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, recently released in an expanded 20th Anniversary Edition, and Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises.
Mar 29 – The Baltimore Sun reports that 2018 Baltimore City graduation rates rose in all demographics. Increasing graduation rates has been a major goal of OSI investments like the Re-Engagement Center and High Value High Schools, including Bard Early College High School.
Apr 3 – Charm City, a documentary film co-produced by 2015 OSI Community Fellow Meryam Bouadjemi, featuring OSI Community Fellows Clayton Guyton (2000), founder of the Rose Street Community Center, and Alex Long (2017), who works at Safe Streets and founded the McElderry Youth Redemption Boxing Program, debuts on PBS.
Apr 10 – The 2017 cohort of OSI Community Fellows “close the circle” on their 18-month fellowships with a ceremony at Clay Pots, a West Baltimore community space founded by 2009 OSI Community Fellow Dwayne Hess.
Apr 24 – OSI hosts Dr. João Goulão, the architect of Portugal’s ground-breaking national drug policies, for a meeting with local leaders, medical personnel, community advocates, and others at OSI-Baltimore’s offices to talk about decriminalization and prioritizing harm reduction and public health.
Apr 24 – A new Vera Institute of Justice report shows that Maryland incarceration rates had dropped to their lowest level since the mid-80s. The primary goal of OSI’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Department has been to reduce incarceration rates by investing in efforts that led to the Justice Reinvestment Act and reforms of parole and sentencing guidelines.
Apr 26 – OSI co-hosts actor Michael K. Williams, who played Omar Little in The Wire, for a screening and discussion of Raised in the System, his documentary about the juvenile justice system. The panel discussion included Felicia Porter, who played Snoop in the The Wire, OSI’s Tara Huffman (below, with microphone), Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, and others.
May 25 – Maryland enacts legislation expanding Restorative Practices, which OSI and partners piloted in Baltimore City Schools and statewide.
June 11 – OSI hosts a farewell celebration honoring Diana Morris (below, with OSI-Baltimore Advisory Board Member Joe Jones) and her 21 years of service to Open Society Foundations and to the city of Baltimore.
June 27 – OSI and the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) co-present a new exhibit, Slavery, The Prison Industrial Complex: Photographs by Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick, which documents life in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. OSI staff worked with the BMA to provide materials for the exhibit that connect Calhoun and McCormick’s work with the injustices of mass incarceration nationally and in Maryland.
July 18 – Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison releases a new crime plan that integrates several initiatives supported by OSI, including the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and community policing.
Aug 8 – Mayor Jack Young commits to funding the Safe City Baltimore initiative, which OSI founded with the Mayor’s office in 2017 to provide legal support for local immigrants at risk of being deported.
Aug 27 – OSI, the Baltimore City Health Department, OSI grantee Bmore Power, and other groups co-sponsor Naloxone trainings at several Baltimore City locations to mark Overdose Awareness Day.
Sep 9 – OSI’s Scott Nolen publishes an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, “The ‘seatbelt’ approach to the opioid crisis,” arguing that “denying harm reduction services to people who use drugs is no different than denying seatbelts to people who drive.”
Sep 17 – Black Leaders Organizing for Change host the first of four survey design workshops to kick off the Blueprint for Baltimore process (see page 20 of pdf).
Sep 18 – New Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa joins OSI’s Leadership Council to discuss the Health Department’s ongoing strategic planning process, including its series of Community Conversations.
Sep 25 – Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and City Council President Brandon Scott join OSI grantees Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition, BMORE Power, and Charm City Care Connection at a press conference to encourage city and state officials to pursue Overdose Prevention Sites (OPSs) in Baltimore City, a goal of OSI’s Addiction and Health Equity Program.
Oct 15 – OSI hosts a Talking About Race event in which poet Reginald Dwayne Betts reads excerpts from his new collection, Felon, and answers questions from fellow poet and 2015 OSI Community Fellow Lady Brion at the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
Oct 16 – The UN Special Rapporteur and OSF education advocates from around the world visit Baltimore to learn about OSI’s work integrating Restorative Practices and mindfulness into the Baltimore City Public School system.
Oct 24 – Community Data Fellows from Black Leaders Organizing for Change, CASA (pictured, above), Baltimore Votes, and the No Boundaries Coalition begin their city-wide canvass as part of the Blueprint for Baltimore survey (see page 26 of pdf).
Nov 6 – OSI announces the 2019 cohort of Community Fellows (See page 24 of pdf).
Nov 21-22 – OSI and Disability Rights Maryland host two-day symposium, Decriminalizing Disability.
Dec 10 – Baltimore City Delegate Brooke Lierman and Baltimore County Delegate Shelly Hettleman join OSI’s Leadership Council to preview the 2020 legislative session.