the Web Editors 09-26-2016

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The number of student suspensions for the 2016-2017 school year at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., as well as the number of student suspensions at the school for the 2015-2016 school year, is zero. This downward trend began when the elementary school incorporated a focus on meditation into its day-to-day routine. Instead of being punished for disruptions or misbehavior, students are sent to the “Mindful Moment Room” where they meditate and do breathing exercises.

the Web Editors 07-18-2016
betto rodrigues / Shutterstock

Police watch protestors in Los Angeles march against the death of Freddie Gray. Photo via betto rodrigues / Shutterstock

Judge Barry G. Williams, the same judge presided over the acquittals of Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson, cleared Rice of involuntary manslaugher, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office.

Eric Clayton 07-13-2016

Image via Maryland National Guard /

I remember talking to my mom on my walk into work not long after the death of Freddie Gray. She had been watching the news and was wondering what my sense of things was on the ground.

“Are there protests?” she asked. “Are people upset?”

the Web Editors 06-23-2016
Baltimore Police Department

Officer Caesar Goodson. Baltimore Police Department

Many criminal justice experts believed that if anyone was to be charged in the death of Freddie Gray, this was the one.

Jim Wallis 05-24-2016

Photo by Ryan Stewart / Sojourners

While I am no legal expert on the details of the court decision yesterday or whether the charges against him and each of the other officers were carefully made or effectively prosecuted, nor a spiritual expert on Nero’s motives, nor an administrative expert on Baltimore police training, one fact continues to remain clear: No one has yet to be held accountable for Freddie Gray’s death who was alive and well before being detained and put into that police wagon.


the Web Editors 05-23-2016

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A Baltimore judge found Officer Edward Nero not guilty on all four of the charges he faced in connection with the death of Freddie Gray, reports ABC News.

the Web Editors 04-27-2016

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State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh (37 percent) edged out former Mayor Sheila Dixon (34 percent) in the Democratic primary. They were the top two finishers in a large field of contenders, which included nationally-prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, who finished with two percent of the vote, just behind City Councilman Carl Stokes’ three percent.

Rachel Malinowski 04-26-2016

Image via Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr.

In the last year, the group has met with civic leaders, including four mayoral candidates, police commissioner Kevin Davis, and the governor’s Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council, the council tasked with crafting a plan to reduce the prison population in Baltimore. Several leaders, including Archbishop Lori, went to West Baltimore following the protests to help clean up and lead services. Imam Earl El-Amin of the Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore said several members had developed a relationship with a seniors’ building during the uprising, sharing medicines and food. Rev. Deckenback’s church has been accepting donations over the last year for areas impacted by protests.

Image via Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Bourg/RNS

A year ago, when the death of Freddie Gray and resulting unrest in Baltimore filled the news, the Rev. Kathy Dwyer felt she had to do something.

“Every time I turned on the TV, I just felt like I was getting punched in the gut from watching the issue of racism just escalate in our country,” said the white pastor of a predominantly white United Church of Christ congregation in Arlington, Va.

Courtney Hall Lee 04-07-2016

As a black person who has lived and worked in struggling cities like these for most of my adult life, I know that the stakes are high in Baltimore. As a black mom, I will have to teach my child what to do if stopped by the police, even though I have no fear that she will ever commit a crime. As the wife of a black man, I wonder if he will be hassled by the police for shoveling our driveway. As a parent who chose to move to the city to give our child the opportunity to have peers who look like her, I know that I am blessed with choices and resources. For those who lack choices and resources, effective leadership is even more crucial.

the Web Editors 02-04-2016
YouTube / CNN

DeRay Mckesson discussing protests in Baltimore on April 28, 2015. Photo via YouTube / CNN

Minutes before the deadline to file for the Democratic primary in Baltimore on February 3, DeRay Mckesson completed the paperwork and entered the race.

With nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter, DeRay, as he's often known on Twitter, has gained widespread notoriety for his role organizing and documenting the Black Lives Matter movement. A former school administrator and Teach for America alum, DeRay first caught the public eye during protests in Ferguson and Baltimore. He is the 13th candidate to enter the Democratic primary in his hometown.

Screenshot via the White House

In times of rising Islamophobia, President Obama made a plea for religious tolerance at the first visit to an American mosque of his presidency. A lot of Americans have never been to a mosque, the president said as he began his speech, shoeless per Muslim tradition, in the Islamic Center of Baltimore’s prayer hall on Jan. 3.

the Web Editors 12-16-2015

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Jurors began deliberations on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday afternoon, the panel informed the judge it was deadlocked, and Williams ordered them to continue deliberating.

The panel, made up of seven women and five men, resumed deliberations Wednesday morning.

In Porter's trial, the prosecution brought medical experts, policing experts and other witnesses to show that Porter was criminally negligent when he failed to secure Gray in a seat belt in the van or call for a medic when Gray requested one.

The defense brought similar experts, as well as other Baltimore police officers, to show that Porter acted as a "reasonable officer" in his interactions with Gray and that Gray's injury was the result of an accident that Porter could not have prevented.

the Web Editors 09-08-2015

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The city of Baltimore has agreed to a settlement with Freddie Gray's family, reports The New York Times.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the $6.4 million settlement, which must still be approved by Baltimore's Board of Estimates, on Sept. 8.
Catherine Woodiwiss 08-05-2015

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A "crisis management" report shows that a Baltimore cybersecurity startup, ZeroFox, singled out members of the Black Lives Matter movement as "threat actors" during the protests and rioting around Freddie Gray's death in April, Mother Jones reports. The report highlights two Black Lives Matter organizers, DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, terming their threat level "high" and "physical," urging "continuous monitoring." It also identifies Baltimore officials and law enforcement agencies for "asset protection." 

This follows on reports in late July that the Department of Homeland Security has been comprehensively monitoring Black Lives Matter activities in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., and New York, N.Y since August 2014.


the Web Editors 06-05-2015

1. I Went to Church with Bruce Jenner, and Here’s What Caitlyn Taught Me About Jesus
Caitlyn knows who Jesus is, and Jesus knows her by name. Whether that sits comfortably on a timeline or blog comment, I know firsthand that Caitlyn has heard the good news. And, Caitlyn has taught me more about Jesus.”

2. And the Award for Trailblazing Feminist Icon Goes to — Miss Piggy
The Sackler Center for Feminist Art awarded the Muppet with its First Award, which recognizes women for being first in their fields and has included the likes of Sandra Day O’Connor, because the character has “qualities that … women need to have to face the world as it is, and she gives us a good smile on top of it all.”

3. In Baltimore Schools, Free Meals for All
"Given the socio-economic status of the city, it's a no-brainer," [parent David T.] Clements said of the program. "Parents can now take that money and apply it to their futures."

4. Study Finds Global Warming Hasn’t Slowed
The latest study, published in Science, reverses previously held thought that global warming was on hiatus. Not so, according to the numbers, which were based on what the scientists say is more accurate land and sea temperature measurements.

Photo via REUTERS / Brian Snyder / RNS

Martin O’Malley. Photo via REUTERS / Brian Snyder / RNS

Martin O’Malley, who just wrapped up his second term as Maryland governor, is loudly, proudly Catholic — even when some doctrine-devoted church followers hiss at his socially liberal views.

Here are five faith facts about O’Malley, 52, who is expected to announce his candidacy on May 30.

Starsky D. Wilson 05-18-2015
R. Gino Santa Maria /

Men pray after Officer Darren Wilson's name released in Ferguson, Mo., Aug. 15, 2014. R. Gino Santa Maria /

Socioeconomic reconciliation is the removal of gaps in opportunity, achievement, health, thriving, and well-being that exist between groups of people in our nation and world. In the face of myriad breaches of the common human bond and experience, a breakthrough act of the Spirit today would activate and agitate the established church in her ministry: a ministry of socioeconomic reconciliation.

The ministry of socioeconomic reconciliation will require a church empowered with tongues of fire and the gift of interpretation. These tongues must speak with a prophetic voice. But we must also have the heart and capacity to translate the words of marginalized communities into the language of policy, power, and program. That is why I thank God for the compelling, confusing roles I’ve been called into over the last nine months. This form of reconciliation requires the church to fulfill of the vocation of the militant mediator, which offers as much renewal in the streets and city hall as we experience in the sanctuary.

Joshua Smith 05-13-2015
Image via Jef Thompson/

Image via Jef Thompson/

When the high priest's guard came to arrest Jesus and execute him under an unjust oppressive legal system on a false charge, Peter wasn't having it.

The police tried to apprehend Jesus and met Peter's sword coming at their heads. He cut off the high priest's servant's ear in the process. Peter wasn't marching. He wasn't rallying. He wasn't chanting or trying persuade the establishment to review their policies. He wasn't even looting, taking his anger out on inanimate objects. He was trying to protect his friend by violently acting out directly towards those who had been tasked to carry out the injustice.

Peter didn't try to reason with the men, but with his actions, Peter loudly and clearly said, "F*** the police!"