pm_state_house_background.jpgOn yesterday's holiday (hard-won!) to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we recall his iconic Riverside Church address of 1967, enumerating the injustices at home and globally of which the then-raging Vietnam War was an illustration. These familiar echoes of today remind us what a visionary King was and, 53 years after his death, remains. See links to that address below.

In the Memo: Details on the Assembly’s first week, including veto overrides; two issue task forces this week -- sign up; our COVID-19 report, state and national, including the Biden-Harris vaccine recovery plan post-Trump; our chapters around the state; allies’ actions, and recent blog posts. Read on; it’s your weekly road map to building power.


Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, January 19,  2021

The topline

On this holiday (hard-won!) to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we recall his iconic Riverside Church address of 1967, a far-reaching view of the then-raging Vietnam conflict as illustrating the roots of US and world inequality -- with superpower governments clashing to protect (or oppose) corporate interests while revolution rumbles from below. These familiar echoes of today remind us what a visionary King was and, 53 years after his death, remains. Here’s the Riverside Church address ; there’s a transcript on this Democracy Now remembrance special. 

In the Memo: Details on the Assembly’s first week, including veto overrides; two issue task forces this week -- sign up; our COVID-19 report, state and national, including the Biden-Harris vaccine recovery plan post-Trump; our chapters around the state; allies’ actions, and recent blog posts. Read on; it’s your weekly road map to building power.


Legislative Session Begins

Lawmakers convened on Wednesday January 13 with special COVID precautions in place. Things will be different during this session when it comes to hearings on bills, providing testimony and doing grassroots state_house_image_wikimedia_commons.jpglobbying. As procedures and rules become more certain we’ll provide resources on how things will work. In the meantime, learn more in this  Maryland Matters article:

We have a real opportunity to win overdue reforms and set a new direction for the state in 2021. The times we’re in and the challenges we’re facing  demand bold action and leadership. The Legislature has a chance to adopt a progressive,enlightened  agenda on police reform, education, healthcare justice, climate, housing, and COVID aid and relief. We’ll be tracking their work and focusing our grassroots organizing to support  positive measures and defeat bad bills.  Our members and supporters help us power our organizing so  Sign up here  to take part.

Actions in the field make a difference, too. That’s why we organized a Truck Tour last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to call attention to the urgent need to pass the Maryland Essential Workers Protection Act. The state has failed workers on many counts during the pandemic and the  We had stops in numerous towns, collected video stories, and brought those to Annapolis on Wednesday. 

There was some good news in the first week as the Senate overrode some of Governor Hogan’s vetoes from the last session, including three criminal justice measures and funding for the Drug Affordability board -- see MD Senate veto overrides on Friday; 

Here’s our agenda called the People’s Recovery Agenda for Maryland:

 The human, health, social and economic impact of COVID is staggering. It requires a massive  package of bills that  would generate revenue by  creating  a new tax bracket for income above $1 million, allowing  counties to raise taxes on the wealthiest, increasing  estate taxes. This allows the state to spend, not cut,   to support vital service  for  the people on the front lines  and those hardest hit by this catastrophe. 

 The House of Delegates Ways and Means Committee starts  hearing these bills this Thursday,  January 21 at 1:30. . Tell members of this committee to advance these bills out of committee.  Find out more about these bills at Legislative Coalition calendar, 

Get Involved: Issue Task Forces and Work Groups/ Events This Week and Coming Soon:

Be Part of  Progressive Maryland’s Healthcare Task Force

Join us to keep fighting for the healthcare justice we need. In 2021, we have a real opportunity to set a new course on the COVID response, to increase the push for improved Medicare for All, and to win state level reforms on issues like medical debt protection and health equity. 

We’ll discuss these issues  Thursday, Jan. 21 at 7:00. RSVP here to learn more about our work and how you can get involved. 


Join the  Progressive Maryland Drug Policy Working Group Meeting

We are hosting a Drug Policy working group meeting , at 6pm where we’ll be talking about upcoming drug policy legislation, how to submit testimony, and other ways we will be pushing the legislature to adopt our priorities. If you are interested in being part of our Drug Policy Team and helping advocate for marijuana legalization and overdose prevention sites this upcoming legislative session, or are new to submitting testimony, then this training is for you!  Click here to RSVP.  


Transit Safety and Investment Act (Lierman, McCray) virtual kickoff event Tuesday Jan 19  12:30-1:30 


Statewide Environmental Justice Task Force Meeting  Monday, January 25,   5:00-6:00pm

Black, Brown, Indigenous and rural communities deserve clean air and water the same way everyone else does. Period. We need to ensure that our Marylanders who are disproportionately impacted by climate change and are bearing the brunt of environmental racism are safe and free from toxins and environmental hazards like landfills and trash incinerators. If you care about bringing justice to our communities while benefiting the planet then please join us on Monday from 5-6pm for an Environmental Justice Task Force meeting - Click here to RSVP. . At the meeting, we will discuss our 2021 legislative priorities for environmental justice and a plan to achieve our goals, as well as go over leadership opportunities within this newly formed task force.





As of Sunday January 17, Maryland now has 326,445 cases and seen the death toll grow  to 6,394 people. The death toll in the United States is nearing 400,000 and across the world two million people have lost their lives. Today, January 19, at 5:30 the Inauguration Committee of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris holds a service to honor the victims at the Lincoln Memorial.  The new President and Vice President will speak.  LINK?

Our hearts go out to all those who have died and to their loved ones. Our energy will stay in the fight for the living.  

Public health experts and officials continue to warn us about the dangers we face this winter due to a deadly combination of factors including  the arrival of a new strain which appears to spread much more easily than previous strains of COVID-19.There’s great concern about the state’s hospitalization rates, the elevated number of COVID cases in December and January,  and with respect to  the positivity rate, which remains above 8%. Given what we know, now is not the time to ease up on mask wearing, social distancing, and staying home to help reduce the spread. We must continue to follow all the public health recommendations.  Vaccinations are critical to ending the pandemic, too. The Trump Administration’s mismanagement of vaccine distribution and roll out left many states and locales without the supplies they were promised. County officials are pressing hard to get more vaccine doses, urging the state and the federal government to speed up the delivery of doses in order to get as many people vaccinated as possible. The Biden-Harris Administration takes office tomorrow and has promised to do everything it can to increase and improve the management of this crisis, including vaccine production and distribution.  

Let’s also demand that the Governor and House and Senate leaders do everything they can to support Marylanders during this health and economic crisis.  Sign the petition  

Other Resources:  

 From the Baltimore Sun, county by county links of how and where to get the coronavirus vaccine. 

Biden Harris plan for vaccines: Ezra Klein in the NYT broke it down to “four buckets: Loosen the restrictions on who can get vaccinated (and when). Set up many more sites where vaccinations can take place. Mobilize more medical personnel to deliver the vaccinations. And use the might of the federal government to increase the vaccine supply by manufacturing whatever is needed, whenever it is needed, to accelerate the effort.” Klein was paraphrasing Jeff Zients, Biden’s designated COVID czar, in a meeting with journalists over the weekend. More on Klein’s amazement and “sense of fury” at how many obvious rescue moves the Trump gang ignored is here.


Contact our Chapter organizers here:

Progressive Montgomery

Montgomery County chapter meeting- January 28th 6:30pm-7:30pm

Save the date for our first Progressive Montgomery chapter meeting of 2021. We will be talking about Progressive Maryland's legislative agenda for 2021, our new statewide Housing task force, and other important issues that affect Montgomery County

Progressive Prince George’s

Anne Arundel and Southern Maryland

Baltimore City

Baltimore/Frederick Counties/Western Maryland


Events from our allies 

Tuesday, January 19th from 12:30-1:30pm: Transit Safety & Investment Act Kickoff Event

The virtual kick-off rally will include special guests Delegate Brooke Lierman and Senator Cory McCray, co-sponsors of the Transit Safety & Investment Act being considered by the Maryland General Assembly. The Transit Safety and Investment Act will avert MTA’s funding cliff by providing an average annual increase over MDOT’s programmed levels to meet the $500 million required annually to meet MTA’s capital needs. The funding will help maintain MARC safety systems, MARC switches, buses, light rail and subway tracks, bus shelters, and more. Additionally, the funding will help to improve access to MARC and bus stations, expand bus shelters, and promote sustainability efforts. In October 2020, The Central Maryland region enacted a 25-year plan for more and better public transit. To do this, we first must fix the existing system now! Read more here.


Thursday, January 21st, | 6 to 8 PM. CASA Ally Network's 2021 Kickoff Meeting 

Discuss local, state and national legislative priorities for the MD General Assembly and the new Biden administration.


Opportunity for high schoolers: Join Students Against Voter Suppression (SAVS)

SAVS is launching a completely virtual poll working and future HR-1 and HR-4 advocacy network across the United States. It includes students across the country within the high school age range. For general members it’s low-time commitment (less than 2 hours per week, except for occasional optional events.) It’s extremely easy to join. This organization is also a great way to include political experience on your resume :) Join form: 


Our recent blog posts

Reading the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace: our recent blog posts are shown below, but if you want a handy way to keep track – and never miss a blog post – you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email. Remember this is your blogspace and your participation is heartily invited. See something going on that you don’t like – or that you do like and hope to see more of? Send us your thoughts; submit to the moderator at [email protected]

January 13, 2021 As legislature opens, recovery agenda for state is clearly stated

Does the Maryland General Assembly, opening today, have the resilience to do the people’s business in a worsening pandemic, under unprecedented conditions and rules for both legislators and members of the public -- who want them to attend to the emergency we have now? And who want them to be open about what they are accomplishing, or not accomplishing? See what a People's Recovery Agenda must include and how we will fight for it.

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, January 11, 2021


Larry Stafford, Progressive Maryland’s Executive Director, described our first ever virtual Membership Assembly (MA) a huge success. We brought together more than 140 concerned community activists from all over Maryland on Saturday, January 9. In a week where we saw historic election victories by Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia U.S. Senate run-offs, we also witnessed a violent white supremacist mob attack at the US Capitol. Aware of the turbulent times we’re in and the problems we face as a state and country the MA participants recommitted to the goal of advancing progressive values and voices in the legislative and electoral arenas. Our broad based community will push back against the right wing attack on democracy and against their rhetoric and deplorable actions, and will build a base of progressive voters and volunteers in the coming days and months to help us gain more seats for progressives at the local, state, and federal level. 

We came away from the meeting with a newly elected Board of Directors, an increased number of dues paying members, and additional volunteer leaders all of whom will help us realize our bold vision for 2021 and 2022. See more about what we did in the Memo, below, including links to our agendas for 2021.

January 05, 2021 Assembly Session challenge: focus on pandemic learning loss

Repairing the damage to learning brought by the pandemic, a veteran Maryland education official argues, "legislators should be guided by two basic rules. One is to follow the science. The other is to have the resolve to make tough, triage-like policy choices. Research also teaches that tutoring in the early grades will be most effective during regular school hours by paid, well-trained tutors and integrated into a school’s framework of tiered interventions for struggling readers." Given the inevitable shortfall in finances, "legislators must resist intense political pressure to simply spread the learning loss money among many competing relief proposals," and focus on what research shows would be the highest-return policy.

January 04, 2021 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, January 4, 2021

January 4, 2021 -- Yes, 2021, not a typo (or maybe the 4th of January NOT2020 if you prefer). It’s only a flip of the calendar page but how different it becomes is, well, up to us.

Progressive Maryland is setting priorities for the Maryland Legislature’s session THIS Saturday

You're invited to our Annual Membership Assembly! for dues-paying members or members of our affiliated organizations.. Please join us (virtually of course!) this Saturday,January 9th, 2021 from 2-5pm so you can  learn about our top priorities for the upcoming session, get more involved in our organizing and participate in membership elections.. RSVP here to secure your spot. Not a member of PM yet? No worries! You can join by clicking here and then attend our membership event. 

We’re going to review the power we have built (including new elected officials) and the challenges ahead as we -- too slowly -- emerge from the pandemic emergency in Maryland.

We’ll look specifically at the Assembly session the following week on critical questions of flagging pandemic relief, and persisting issues of criminal and social justice, health care, climate justice and more -- and how we will vigorously and publicly poke the Delegates and Senators to do their job.

And we’ll elect new Progressive Maryland leadership to make 2021 another year of building power for working people and families.

December 11, 2020 How Progressive Maryland is preparing for 2021. You are included.

This past Tuesday evening Progressive Maryland hosted our virtual Member Welcome meeting to build community and learn about what it means to be a member of Progressive Maryland. We were joined by both the longtime and relatively new members who make our organization what it is.

We want to build momentum from this meeting and head into 2021 ready to increase our grassroots power across the state, so this post is to carry that meeting’s messages to those who were unable to participate. Here's how we work together to make change in Maryland.

November 24, 2020 Exciting News! We were voted one of the best nonprofits in the DC region!

🎉 Exciting news: The Catalogue for Philanthropy has chosen Progressive Maryland as one of the best nonprofits in the DC region! We were selected from a competitive applicant pool by passing through a rigorous review process conducted by a team of 170+ pro bono reviewers from foundations, corporate giving programs, peer nonprofits, local government agencies, and the philanthropic advisory community. We are so honored to be part of this powerful cohort of local changemakers! 🔥

REMEMBER – these blog posts are frequently expressions of political opinion from our wide-ranging membership and circle of allies. They are not expressions of opinion by Progressive Maryland. Don’t be surprised if they sometimes vary in their political content. You might even disagree with them – a good reason to contribute a blog of your own. Send it to the moderator, Woody Woodruff, at [email protected]. 

>>Keeping up with the blogs is easier with the index. The blogs published in the PM BlogSpace from June 2015 through December 2016 are all available with descriptions and links here. You can follow blogs for 2017-18 starting from here

woody woodruff


M.A. and Ph.d. from University of Maryland Merrill College of Journalism, would-be radical, sci-fi fan... retired to a life of keyboard radicalism...