NEW: Sherrilyn Ifill to Speak at Public Launch of
Maryland Truth & Reconciliation Commission
Noted civil rights attorney and author Sherrilyn Ifill will address the first public meeting of the new Maryland Lynching Truth & Reconciliation Commission on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 7:00 pm at the University of Baltimore (UB) School of Law, 1401 N. Charles Street in Baltimore.
Ms. Ifill is President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the author of a seminal work on the subject of racial terror lynching, On the Courthouse Lawn (2007).
The Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, in partnership with UB, is holding the launch meeting to introduce the Commission to the public, review the history of lynching in Maryland, explain why the Commisssion is needed and provide an opportunity for interested citizens to offer input to help guide the subsequent work of the Commission.
In addition to Ms. Ifill, the program will include presentations from Maryland Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk(21stDistrict), and Ms. Kelebogile Zvobgo,a Zimbabwe-born political scientist whose research focus is on human rights and transitional justice.
Following the presentations, a panel discussion will allow audience members to ask questions of the panelists and Commissioners. The event will be livestreamed and remote viewers will be able submit comments and questions both before and during the live event.
Admission to the meeting is free, but tickets are required and can be reserved by clicking here:
First EJI Historical Marker in Maryland to be
Dedicated on September 7, 2019 in Annapolis
Earlier this year, the Equal Justice Initiative announced that it had approved a proposal for the first EJI historical marker in the state of Maryland to the AA CO Connecting the Dots: Remembrance and Reconciliation Project, That group has announced that the unveiling ceremony for the marker will take place at 10am on September 7, 2019. Please mark your calendars for this important date in Maryland’s history !
The ceremony will take place on Calvert Street across from the Arundel Center, the former site of the jail from which Henry Davis was abducted by a white mob intent on lynching him after marching him through predominantly black communities in an act of terror. This ceremony will mark the acts of racial terrorism and our continued mission to remember and reconcile.
The marker unveiling will include the awards ceremony for the essay scholarship contest that the Coalition is organizing. The scholarship awardee(s) will be eligible for prizes totaling at least $5000 awarded by the EJI. For more information about the essay contest in Anne Arundel County please contact local organizer, Connecting the Dots, point of contact: Linda Girdner at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gabrielle Daniels, EJI Essay Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Additional details on the EJI Racial Justice Essay contest can also be found HERE. The contest is open to all public high school students who were in grades 9-12 during the 2018-2019 school year, including recent 2019 high school graduates, living in Anne Arundel County, MD. The deadline for entries is 11:59pm Central Time on Wednesday, August 7, 2019.
Maryland gains national attention as first state to create Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The cause of TRUTH took a major step forward on April 18 when Governor Hogan signed HB 307 into law, creating the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And the rest of the country is taking note.
The measure authorizes the Commission to hold public hearings around the state to investigate the 40 plus racial terror lynchings that were committed in Maryland, The law acknowledges that no one was ever charged in connection with any of these crimes and that government entities were often complicit in committing them and in concealing the identities of those responsible. The act further notes that, "Restorative justice requires a full knowledge, understanding and acceptance of the truth before there can be any meaningful reconciliation,"
The full text of the law can be read HERE.
Dr. Nicholas Creary, a board member of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, helped write the law. He explains, “The Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission (LTRC) seeks justice for families and communities of the victims of racial terror lynching in Maryland… It will also provide opportunities for the responsible parties’ families and communities to apologize and make amends in order to heal the damage to African American communities across the State of Maryland for the wanton murder of their men in racial terror lynchings.” The full text of the op-ed Dr. Creary wrote for the Baltimore Sun can be read HERE.
Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D, 21st District, Prince George's and Anne Arundel Counties), is the primary sponsor of the bill which passed both Houses of the General Assembly unanimously.
Maryland’s new law is gaining national attention. The bill was endorsed by Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) and a feature praising its passage was published on the EJI website. You can read that article HERE.