• The really big idea

    Is it audacious of us to believe that a single civic action can change Baltimore? In the 1960’s, construction of The Highway to Nowhere (The Highway, Route 40 East & West) displaced thousands of West Baltimore residents. The Highway is 1.5 miles long—a two minute ride with 3.5 miles of blank, 30-foot walls that block […]

  • Protect our children

    My audacious idea is that we all commit to protecting and nurturing our children. Protecting our children requires responsible parenting. It is unacceptable that any child lives in a home where he or she is not wanted and cared for. It is up to us as a community to show all children that they have […]

  • Eliminate the concept of fatherless in our communities

    Just the other day I received an email from a young man whom I worked closely with while I was directing a Beacon School in the heart of Harlem during the early 1990’s. Victor was writing to invite me to a book signing for Bandana Republic, an anthology of poetry and prose by gang members […]

  • It’s a right, not a privilege

    Last week I participated in a discussion about the Supreme Court’s decision in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board with Ron Christie, a former special assistant to George W. Bush.  In that case, the Supreme Court upheld, 6-3, Indiana’s voter I.D. law.  The venue was NPR’s News & Notes, a public affairs program hosted by […]

  • Happiness is Baltimore’s Sunday Streets

    Two years ago, my wife and I got to know an amazing 12 year old girl as a summer host family through www.Kidsave.org . When we traveled to Bogota, Colombia to complete her adoption, people told us not to miss Ciclovia. Every Sunday from 7 am-2 pm, over 90 miles of roads are ‘opened’ to […]

  • Community martial arts schools

    About fifteen years ago, I spent a few evenings in Mack Lewis’s boxing gym, working on a story for Baltimore Magazine.  Vince Pettway was the gym’s star then, training for a super-welterweight title fight, and in those days he was something to watch.  But what impressed me just as much were the other young men, […]

  • Keeping people out of prison and embracing them in our communities

    One in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34 incarcerated in the United States?1 “Yet you have turned into venom the process of law and justice itself into poison.”2 As the Pew Center for the States released its report at the end of February, the numbers sent me reeling.  Again.  The astounding […]

  • Suppose we voted?

    Here is an audacious idea. What if people actually voted? When the “founding fathers” first wrote the constitution, only white men could vote. Since that time, extraordinary citizens have given up life and liberty to expand voting rights to all citizens so that the United States could try to become a government of the people.  […]

  • Baltimore students explore solutions for two critical city problems

    According to a study by Baltimore’s Center for Poverty Solutions, 50% of those interviewed at soup kitchens and drop-in centers had been incarcerated, many for public urination, loitering, sleeping outdoors, and other nonviolent crimes that stemmed from being homeless.  Of those incarcerated, 93% had been arrested for non-violent crimes, 41% received no services while incarcerated, […]

  • African American males are worth it

    My audacious idea is simple:  To create a culture of caring to support the positive development of African American males in Baltimore City. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a noted 19th Century writer was once quoted as saying “imitation is suicide.” Emerson’s quote personifies what is happening to a large segment of African American males both young […]