You’re invited

Expert on Policies for (and against) America’s Poor, 50 years after MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign, March 12

The University of Baltimore’s semester-long conversation about the history and impact of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign will continue on Monday, March 12, when Peter Edelman, the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy and the faculty director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University Law Center, will present, via Skype, his singular perspective on poverty in the U.S. The presentation, interview, and audience Q&A will be facilitated by Marc Steiner. The session will take place beginning at 5:30 p.m. in UB’s Town Hall, located in the H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, 1415 Maryland Ave. This event, as are all events in UB’s semester-long examination at King’s legacy and its impact on social justice today, is free and open to the public.

In addition to his Georgetown Law professorship and direction of the Center on Poverty and Inequality there, Peter Edelman is the author of Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America and So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America (The New Press). He was a top advisor and speechwriter for Senator Robert F. Kennedy on poverty and related issues. He served in the Clinton administration and resigned as the assistant director for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services immediately after President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Since that time he has been a scholar, thought leader, author, and activist on policies affecting America’s poor.

Marc Steiner has been a fixture in Baltimore media and public affairs for 25 years, beginning with his radio show on WJHU, which continued on WYPR and WEAA. He has become one of the most recognized voices in Maryland and has gained national acclaim for his insightful style of interviewing. As president of the Center for Emerging Media, he won a Peabody Award, the most distinguished award in broadcast media, for the series “Just Words.” Mr. Steiner participated in the Poor People’s Campaign, spending five weeks during 1968 in “Resurrection City” (on the National Mall).

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Living “Hopkins” in Baltimore, An Immigrant City Roundtable Discussion

Dear all, a friendly reminder:

We invite you to join us for an informal roundtable discussion on the intersections of race, migration, and citizenship in Baltimore city. This will also be a space to talk about the relationship between Johns Hopkins University and the city of Baltimore. Please share widely!

Friday April 29, 4-6pm
JHU Homewood Campus, Gilman Hall, Room 132D

Reception to follow.

Please RSVP at so we can be sure we have enough food.

Guest speakers will help guide our conversation:
Marisela Gomez, Community activist, author of Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore, Hopkins-trained public health professional, and physician scientist

Jossie Flor Sapunar, Latinx civil rights activist and Hopkins Alumna

Dora Malech, Assistant Professor in the Writing Seminars and Engaged Faculty Fellow. Some of Malech’s students from “Readings in Poetry: Of Late―Poetry & Social Justice” will be reading their poetry. Malech’s class brings Hopkins undergrads and Baltimore City College High School students together. Our guest student-poets will be:
Isabella Bowker (JHU, undergrad)
Maysa Elsheikh (JHU, undergrad)
Afiya Ervin (BCC high school)
Marie Mokuba (BCC high school)
Joy Njoroge (BCC high school)

Some of the common questions that we seek to address are:
· Where are the immigrants in this city?
· Where are the so-called neighborhood folk?
· Is the Johns Hopkins campus a neighborhood campus?
· Is it an extension of Roland Park, Charles Village?
· How do we, as everyday people, make investments in the city?
· Where do we elect to walk, to run?
· Where will we drive, or drive through?
· How do we talk about Baltimore?
· Does it feel like your hometown?

See poster attached

living hopkins in Baltimore 2016

Divided Baltimore – The Last Class

Contact: University Relations
Phone: 410.837.5739

The Dec. 14th edition of the University of Baltimore class, “Divided Baltimore: How Did We Get Here? Where Do We Go?,” to be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Hall in UB’s H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, 1415 Maryland Ave., will feature student presentations focused on lessons learned and exploring solutions in Baltimore. The class is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, and only students formally enrolled in the course are guaranteed a seat – this is our final class of the semester.

Following each presentation, a question and answer session will be offered.

Mr. Robert’s Gym of Martial Arts

Divided Baltimore Community

It is with a deep pride that I call you all my community members. I am sending out this request and taking this opportunity to ask for your help with an endeavor which I was inspired to start due to my participation in the Divided Baltimore class.

I am helping to raise $12,000 for Mr. Robert’s Gym of Martial Arts (currently being held at a boxing gym on 409 E Preston St, 21202). It is just before entering the Mt. Vernon neighborhood. Guilford is the border between these neighborhoods are they are VASTLY different. This gym provides a much needed afterschool enrichment to children who REALLY need to be engaged and have their talent nurtured. As many of us know, Baltimore currently lacks rec centers and programs for school aged children whose families are low-income. Through my son’s participation in classes in Mr. Robert’s Martial Arts classes, I have gotten to know of these families. They have great intentions of wanting their children to be involved and engaged, but they lack the funds for classes and equipment. I would be turning a blind eye to justice and action, if I were to ignore the situation of Carter’s classmates while I enjoy our privileged situation .

The link to donate is below. In five days, this site has only raised $15. I have posted this on Facebook, asked my in-laws to do a donation in lieu of a Christmas gift for me, emailed friends, told neighbors, etc. If you have any other suggestions of how to present this or where to present this, let me know. I am open to suggestions.

This is the fundraising campaign for Robert’s Gym Of Martial arts :
Simply click on the link and donate.

It would mean the world to me if you all would donate any amount and then spread the word. Think about this reaching thousands of people.

This is how you can help Baltimore. This is how we can actually affect change.

In Hope and Solidarity,

Lauren Kelly-Washington,
Founding Director of BLiS Moves
Fusion Movement & Fitness
Global Music
Arts Integrated Curriculum, Cultural Arts Residencies & Assemblies in Schools

Join Us For Tonight’s ‘Divided Baltimore’ Class

Contact: University Relations
Phone: 410.837.5739

The Dec. 7th edition of the University of Baltimore class, “Divided Baltimore: How Did We Get Here? Where Do We Go?,” to be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Hall in UB’s H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, 1415 Maryland Ave., will continue to focus on exploring solutions in Baltimore. The class is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, and only students formally enrolled in the course are guaranteed a seat.
Guest lecturers include:

*Michael Cryor, executive director of OneBaltimore, “Imagining One Baltimore” with Michael Cryor.

*D. Watkins, award-winning writer, educator, and speaker and columnist for Salon Magazne

Following about an hour of discussion from these lecturers, a question and answer session will be offered. After that, students enrolled in the course will present their own visions of the future.

Divided Baltimore Community Member Feedback

This post was received from Fletcher R. Hall, a community member participating in Monday’s Divided Baltimore Community Forum:

By Fletcher R. Hall

It should be most evident to all Baltimore City voters that the need for generational change, new faces, and new ideas are of paramount importance in the Baltimore City Primary election for Mayor on April 27, 2016. New leadership is essential.

Following the unrest on April of this year and the ongoing violence and business disruption the city can no longer expect the status quo, tired, stale and regulations, all ideas of past generations of elected officials.

The long-term survival and viability of Baltimore City, as a major urban center, is at stake. Regardless of race, the, city m must elect new leadership. Any serious conversations more must embrace honesty, sincerity and reality.

No longer can empty promises, pie in the sky programs and dependency on solely massive infusions of federal funds undergird the future economic viability of the city. For generations these methods have been relied upon, and to and to a significant degree, have failed.

It will necessitate new leadership, with new vision to obtain the results and outcomes Baltimore must realize. The federal government does not create jobs. The federal government does not provide adequate public safety nor create first class, effective public schools. The federal government does not ensure clean, modern public housing, in good repair. These governmental functions are primarily the charges of local government, well planned and successfully executed, with adequate oversight, and visionary leadership, producing adequate revenues and forward momentum. This type of government will create a vehicle for change and stimulate a private sector, which will grow and flourish.

For too long Baltimore City government has created layers of overlapping regulations, a mishmash of local taxes, and overstaffed bureaucracies which have hurt city homeowners and businesses alike. A city that continues under these conditions cannot, and will not, grow and thrive. It is in the best interests of all city citizens to understand these realizations if the city is to successfully navigate the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. The April 2016 municipal election cannot be politics as usual. It simply cannot be so.

Leadership, is, as Henry Ford stated, “not finding fault, but in finding remedies”. There enough challenges, in Baltimore City, for which remedies must be found. The fact that the homicide rate, now at 314, the highest in twenty tears, certainly elevates public safety to priority status in next year’s mayor’s race.

Public safety affects all other facets of the life and economy of Baltimore. How can an economy, jobs, education and an increase in the city population happen without adequate public safety? It will indeed require exceptional new leadership to deal with all of the issues facing Baltimore City.

In the history of most nations, states, cities and organizations, there comes a time for change. That time in the city of Baltimore has come. The city must experience new directions new visons, and new ideas – new ideas in assuring adequate public safety, adequate and safe public housing, adequate and effective education and the creation and availability of quality jobs.

The upcoming election for mayor provides all citizens of Baltimore City an excellent opportunity to select agents of change. Discerning who these agents are, and which one should lead the city, is job one for the voters of Baltimore City.


In Baltimore, all is not gloom and doom. Sure, there are concerns and challenges, as there are in any American cities. Will Baltimore City recover? Will it remain the economic engine of the State? Will people continue to move to Baltimore? Will people continue to move from Baltimore? Will companies still locate in Baltimore City ? Will tourists still visit Charm City? Will educational and medical institutions continue to thrive and grow?

The answer to all of these questions is yes.

However, it will demand time, leadership, vision, commitment and capital. All are the key ingredients in improving and growing most urban cities in America, in 2015. This is certainly true in Baltimore. The recent announcement by Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System initiating the new HopkinsLocal program which will leverage Hopkins purchasing power among vendors and contractors. Although Hopkins currently is a major employer in the city this initiative will increase Hopkins presence in challenged Baltimore neighborhoods. In the port, Maresk Lines have reestablished its business, bringing additional jobs and visibility to Baltimore City.

The expansion and upgrading of the Amazon distribution center has added some 3000 jobs in a developing section of the city. The technology industry is burgeoning and becoming more visible each day. It is rapidly becoming a pillar of Baltimore’s economy. Even the Orioles and the Ravens, though having problems on their respective fields of play, are boosting the city and especially civic pride. Development is thriving and active in many sections of the city. Of particular notice are the Port Covington projects, including the Grand Garage, which will be housed in a former city bus garage. As this sector grows, jobs and payrolls will increase and bring new revenue to the city. There are a myriad of other positive development projects currently under way within Baltimore City.

Yet, with the many positive things occurring in Baltimore City, there lingers the question of how to best bring the city together. The many systemic challenges and structural racism remain divisive factors, in Baltimore City. Employment and educational opportunities need significant attention. Transportation needs within Baltimore City, which affects the regional economy, languish. Let us hope the recent commitments by Governor Hogan will become reality.

The political face and terrain of the city will change with the upcoming city election. The real challenge in this election will be finding candidates with vision and new ideas. Candidates will find a vibrant city with existing potential. Yet the ominous threat of racial discord will be an ongoing issue, which must be addressed. Real conversations must be held. Real opportunities must create and an aura of hopefulness instilled in all the citizens of Baltimore City. All candidates must understand that vision and patience are vital qualities for the next Mayor. This is indeed a tall order. Progress will only be made when citizens, and governmental officials alike, reach consensus, find common ground, and understand that time really heals many wounds. Time, is needed to investigate, seek new solutions, implement new programs and find new directions.With the many assets Baltimore City enjoys, solutions can be found to ensure a bright and productive future, for all its citizens.

This post was received from Tom Riley, a community member participating in Divided Baltimore’s Community Forum:


The Big Moon Dig / What & Why / Divided Baltimore

This post was received from Fletcher R. Hall, a concerned community member participating in Monday’s Divided Baltimore Community Forum:


There is a crime crisis in Baltimore City. After the riots and unrest, the City is experiencing a level of violence and homicides totally unacceptable to any American city. There are too many body bags on the local evening news and too much negative ongoing coverage of this City in national and international news outlets.

For elected and appointed officials in Baltimore, it is hard to see tomorrow when you cannot see today. There are too many talkers and too few actual doers. Henry Ford once said, “Don’t find fault; find a remedy.” Baltimore officials should remember and heed these wise words in the face of the current anxiety and fear among their citizens.

There are numerous factors involved in the spate of murders and violence that must now be addressed for the City to move ahead as Maryland’s urban commercial center. Baltimore must remain as the economic center of Maryland.

The increasing number of murders must be the priority issue addressed by

Baltimore’s elected officials and treated as a priority by the business community and its leadership. The actual homicides and the negative media attention they create affect current and potential residents, as well as present and future business partners. City leaders must address the crime issue now and stop the bleeding.

Not only do drug traffic, poverty and unemployment play significant roles in the existing crime surge; there is no regard or respect for human life.

Then there is the issue of public safety. Police are needed in the poorer and minority communities perhaps even more than any other areas of the City. The current fear and reticence of doing a reasonable and rational task of protecting life and property cannot thrive in an atmosphere of suspicion and fear. Police have throttled back in their efforts to maintain peace and safety. The entire city is a loser when this occurs.

Before Baltimore can successfully move ahead, the issue of public safety must be addressed. The current situation is deterring the efforts being made by citizens, religious and many other organizations to rebuild, heal and come together in a city with a future for all.

Whatever measures must lawfully be employed must be initiated now to guarantee public safety. It is the primary responsibility of Baltimore’s elected officials to seize the day, make informed decisions and act with dispatch. These actions will be immensely welcomed by all of Baltimore’s citizens.

Respect for human life, decisive action and respect for the rule of law are all factors essential in Baltimore today. Together the city can prevail. Lincoln reminded us that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Baltimore cannot afford to remain a city on the edge.

On Politics is a column written by Fletcher R. Hall, retired chairman of the board of F.R. Hall and Associates, a government relations and strategic communications firm, and a former executive vice president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.




Due to drift and a confusing state of affairs now prevailing in Baltimore City, it is necessary that a Baltimore reform ticket be organized and implemented.

This reform ticket could focus on four critical issues facing the city: public safety, jobs, education, and housing.

The reform ticket should include a candidate for mayor who has vision and executive experience, and comes, preferably, from the private sector. The candidate for president of city council should have legislative and executive experience and be a leader and conciliator.

Each city council district must be reviewed and seek candidates who are electable and reform-minded. This group should include candidates who are Hispanics and Asians. It is time for the governing body to represent a mosaic of the city.

Baltimore City can ill afford the “same old same old” elected officials, who lack vision and advocate old and failed policies and programs.

Dependency on vast sums of federal and other government funding has not been significantly successful. For over 30 years, these programs and funding sources have made little difference in the composition of Baltimore City. One-party rule, essentially since 1950, has not been healthy for the city. Perhaps a reform ticket with bipartisan participation and support will be beneficial for all of the citizens of Baltimore City.

Reform tickets have been successfully utilized in many metropolitan American cities since the beginning of the 19th century. For years in Baltimore, the Commission on Governmental Efficiency and Economy was a municipal watchdog and citizen-based oversight organization. Perhaps an organization of this nature would be of benefit in Baltimore City. Starting with a reform coalition ticket, this year, could be a step in the right direction.

If Baltimore is to actually survive and thrive, now is the time to initiate and grow a reform movement. Launching this movement now and achieving success in the next Baltimore City election is vital to the future of the city.

The challenges existing in the city are massive, frustrating, and will not see great change without some major transformation. Even the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) has not raised enough money to assist all businesses to recover from the riots.

Detroit has experienced similar decline and, to assist with recovery, J.P Morgan-Chase recently contributed $100 million to help the city. Where will Baltimore find this infusion of capital?

Recovery, infusion of capital, and reform are essential to Baltimore’s future.

The time is now; the need is great; It can be done.

Fletcher R. Hall is a former Executive Vice President of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, a writer and currently Chairman of the Public Policy of the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce.

Divided Baltimore in Italy and Australia

Divided Baltimore in Italy’s National News Magazine and in Melbourne’s Daily News Online.

Internationale – Italy’s National News Magazine (courtesy of @fabiomarroni and @eubiebee):

The Age – Melbourne’s Daily News Online: