We’re getting a really positive response at the doors-we just need to talk to more people so that we have the people and voter power we need to carry out this plan! Check out the new video.
In addition to door knocking we need help with community events, support for our logistics and comms team, and for a day of action in October and issue forums at the end of the year. Join us: fill out the volunteer form. Email Patty for more information.
Returning Citizens Taskforce
“The past is something to learn from, not live in,” State Delegate Jamila Woods told those attending attended the “Find Your Community, Find Your Voice” Returning Citizens Town Hall on Saturday, August 12. She added that “the opportunity of a lifetime only lasts the lifetime of the opportunity.” The challenge, however, is ensuring that people leaving prison are able to find the opportunities they need, be it housing, jobs, legal services or, equally important, a spiritual center. Charles Hopkins, from Samaritan Ministries of Greater Washington spoke next. He was released from prison in 2019 after serving 48 years in prison, returning to society with $50 in his pocket. He needed resources and he also needed to learn to live as people do. "Success means following a plan", Hopkins added, but understanding, like a quarterback in the huddle, sometimes you have to be prepared for an audible. For that, he - like everyone - needed support, and he reminded those in attendance that if we could get through prison, we can get through the challenges of living on the outside.
The gathering was held at The Episcopal Church of the Atonement in South East DC right on the border line with Prince George’s County. In addition to the church, co-sponsors of the Town Hall included Progressive Maryland’s Returning Citizens Task Force and the Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington. Reverend Ricardo Sheppard, pastor of the church, began and concluded the program, speaking of his own experiences of the system, of the need to listen, to be patient, and be ever mindful of both practical and spiritual needs. Also participating in the Town Hall were Michael Williams, Director of Returning Citizens Affairs Office of the County Executive (Prince George’s), Lamont Carey, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizens Affairs (DC), Diane Quinn, Employer Specialist, Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington, and Mark Smith, Manager, Career Services, Employ Prince George’s. Beverly John spoke about the work Life After Release does, especially their work to build participatory defense and their Mother’s Day Bail Out program to help women get back to their families and their lives.
Other returning citizens spoke from the floor and there was an opportunity to exchange information and resources. Altogether about 25 people attended, a step in the right direction, but a step which will be followed by other steps.
Contact Kurt for more information regarding the RCTF.
Environmental Justice Taskforce
As the sun-blessed summer winds down, we are excited to announce that Progressive Maryland and our Environmental Justice Task Force (EJTF) will participate in the upcoming national Vegan SoulFest: a two-day event taking place this weekend (August 19-20) at West Covington Park (101 W Cromwell St., Baltimore, MD 21230).
This national event will include people from around the globe, and the confluence of music, art, and plant-based food, together. The festival's main aim is to empower the global community on the consequences of waste on our air and water. Waste reduction, as minimal as possible, is also an important goal of ours.
That said, we are in need of volunteers to help out at the sorting stations in the festival. Perks for individuals that volunteer include full-day admission and a meal ticket redeemable at the 100+ food vendors. If you're looking to close the summer out with an environmental bang, sign up here for a volunteer shift with the EJTF. If you're interested in getting connected to the EJTF, reach out to our Environmental Justice organizer SirJames.