Maryland is ready for reform

Time and again, the ACLU receives calls from Marylanders, usually poor and of color, who have fallen victim to the failed war on drugs. Many describe the illegal searches and verbal intimidation they experienced at the hands of law enforcement officers in the misguided, racially biased, and endless hunt for marijuana.

Ending gun violence

Gun violence does not only affect those directly wounded. Gun violence affects our fathers and mothers, our brothers and sisters, our cousins and play-cousins. Gun violence affects our neighborhoods, our schools, our churches, our homes, our playgrounds. It is an epidemic, a contagion that we should treat the same way we treated polio.

Reading beyond comfort

Finding levers of change is a tricky business—they are often drawn from a combination of existing knowledge, pure instinct and imagination. As OSI-Baltimore works to find solutions to persistent problems relating to education, criminal justice and addiction, it is critical to keep our thinking fresh and expansive. Given that, I’ve made a 2013 New Year’s resolution to take the time to read in more depth and to read more widely, particularly by exposing myself to different points of view.

Making our communities stronger

Every day, countless black men wake up in Baltimore and do their part to strengthen their communities. They run small businesses, mentor youth, volunteer at religious institutions, and raise their families. They are artists, coaches, students, fathers—regular guys from all walks of life—who contribute to their neighborhoods and change them for the better.

Mass Murder

It seems necessary to stop. Necessary to not just go on with whatever it is we are doing. How can mass murder become a routine occurrence in America? How can a horror like the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, for all its shock—the execution of children!—carry with it the strange sensation of utter familiarity? At what point […]

Focusing on what unites us

The progression of personal maturity is often listed as: dependence, independence, and, finally, inter-dependence. Sociology is displaying the same stages. Early human history saw significant gains in dependence with dictatorships. Recent history saw significant progress in individuality with the promotion of free markets. We are at a new stage as we question the value of the pursuit of personal gain. As individuals and entities we are starting to see the significance of shared values.

Challenging the black/white dichotomy in Baltimore race talk

As an Indian-American woman who finds it important to regularly talk about the impact of race in our daily lives, Baltimore City fits me well. Yet, in a city where race pervades all discussions about improving Baltimore, when will Asian and Latino voices be welcomed into the fold? When provided space, our voices are relegated to “special forums,” perpetuating the foreignness of Asian and Latino experiences.

Knowing the full face of our history

If you’re like me, you were taught that slavery ended with Emancipation Proclamation. Then Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus and the Civil Rights Movement began.

It wasn’t until adulthood when I realized that I had only a vague understanding of a large part of our history, and that what I was taught regarding slavery in this country was only a part of the story.

The power of music to build communities

Leonard Bernstein was a thinker, teacher, author, television star, provocateur, humanitarian and he was my hero. As with all true mentors, Bernstein taught me much more than a craft. He showed me the enormous power of music and how important it is to share it with as much of humanity as is possible.

Making every day count for Baltimore City School students

Chakel, an 11th grade law program student at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School in Baltimore City, believes she can make her mark through success in school: “Every day, I work on making an impact on the world.” But every day, other Baltimore City Public Schools students struggle just to get to school.