Baltimore, Maryland – Students at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and community members in Baltimore protested against the creation of a private university police force by disrupting two town hall meetings on September 22 and September 29, the first of which led to some antagonism with JHU’s VP of public safety, Branville Bard. The creation of a university police force – the Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD) – was postponed for two years in response to the anti-police brutality protests of 2020. Now the university is fast-tracking the process with minimal input from students or the community, despite active opposition going back to 2019 when several anti-JHPD activists were arrested for occupying a university building for around a month.
Employees of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library system have announced their intention to unionize, citing better pay, benefits for all, and greater employee input into working conditions as their chief motivations. Seeking voluntary recognition from Pratt leadership, Pratt Workers United hopes to join AFSCME Council 67, where workers from Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art are also seeking representation. TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez interviews Pratt Workers United organizers Marti Dirscheri and Antoinette Wilson on the unionization campaign.
The urban heat island effect emerges when the temperature in a metropolitan area is significantly hotter than in surrounding areas. Heat islands are largely a result of urban development, where materials like concrete and asphalt replace natural vegetation. In a city’s concrete jungle, materials found in buildings, roads, and sidewalks absorb the sun’s heat and emit it back into the air, raising the surrounding surface and ambient temperatures. Waste heat generated from vehicles, industrial facilities, and other human sources also add to the higher temperatures, leading to greater emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gasses. Urban heat islands pose a serious public health threat to those living in these zones―often people of color, low-income communities, and vulnerable age groups.
Dozens of workers at MOM's Organic Market in Hampden voted Friday night to unionize. The vote is the latest in a string of pro-labor pushes from employees in the greater Baltimore area. Workers at MOM's Organic Market voted 58-5 to join Teamsters Local 570. "It was truly an honor to do this with my coworkers. I'm so glad that we get to secure a dignified workplace for right and for future MOM's workers," said MOM's employee Kelsey Oppenheimer.
Sweat trickled down Dan Bythewood’s forehead under the hot July sun. He promised the West Baltimore crowd he would keep his comments short so the 100 or so people who watched—activists, press, residents, and political leaders—could quickly retreat from the heatwave gripping the city. The developer, who is Black, stood behind a podium placed in front of the technicolor homes on Sarah Ann Street, a narrow stretch of concrete not wide enough for two cars to travel in opposite directions. Bythewood, president of the New York development firm La Cité (“the city” in French), trained his sight on the historic Sarah Ann Street homes almost two decades ago, with plans to redevelop the houses and the surrounding Poppleton neighborhood.
Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S House of Representatives, landed in Taiwan Province on August 2. Her trip is a dangerous provocation against the People’s Republic of China. Pelosi arrived on the 58th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson claimed Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin had attacked a U.S. Navy destroyer. The Pentagon Papers later admitted this was a lie, a complete fabrication. That it was a lie didn’t stop LBJ, who used the lie to start bombing Vietnam. Even the United States government concedes that there’s only one China. Because it’s an island, Taiwan is the only part of China that wasn’t liberated in 1949 by the People’s Liberation Army during the Chinese civil war.
The growing and eclectic brand of activism known as cop watching continues to invent creative ways to confront overpolicing across the country. In this episode, Police Accountability Report hosts Taya Graham and Stephen Janis examine the arrest of two Youtube activists and how they responded in light of recent pushback from police departments across the country. The story illustrates how the grassroots movement of holding cops accountable continues to evolve in ways both unexpected and productive. A series of arrests that you are seeing here, which show just how hard it is to fight a system that has overwhelming power and is often able to bend the law. But we are also going to show you this: a fake protest staged by cop watchers to prove my former point about how the system is biased towards police and against the preservation of our Constitutional rights.
Back in April 2016, a Baltimore news report about “police recruiting perils after Freddie Gray” focused on a new police hire with an ideal origin story. Luke Shelley, a National Guardsman deployed here during the Baltimore Uprising in April 2015, had recently joined the Baltimore Police Department (BPD). As a guardsman, he had been stationed at Mondawmin Mall, ground zero for the rioting that took place on April 27, 2015, “an experience that convinced [Shelley] he wanted to serve the city,” local ABC affiliate WMAR reported. “I want to be where the challenge is and where the need is for good police,” Shelley told WMAR in 2016. “To have that impact on countless lives—a hundred or a thousand or whoever you meet on a daily basis—I think is a pretty noble and high responsibility.”
Being a respected news outlet comes with much responsibility, especially one that heavily covers race relations — take it from us! One of the longest-running publications that also happens to serve a predominately Black audience is the Baltimore Sun, and it recently drew public attention to a past history of racism that’s gone ignored for the newspaper’s entire 185 years in print. That is, until now. Lifting the paywall that usually requires readers to subscribe to read online articles, the Baltimore Sun editorial board released a lengthy apology in article form last week to call out its own legacy rooted in its founder, Arunah S. Abell. Here’s an excerpt from the opening paragraph of the Baltimore Sun‘s explanation below.
Food service is not an industry that most would associate as a beacon of social or economic justice. In fact, the restaurant industry is notorious for providing paltry wages, for engaging in shocking levels of wage theft, and for generally being comprised of toxic work environments marked by sexual harassment and human trafficking. In the face of horrendous work environments and staggering levels of worker exploitation, many restaurant workers and their advocates are advancing alternative models of management and ownership geared toward breaking the cycles of abuse and disempowerment that define much of the industry. One of the most interesting models being explored is the worker cooperative: businesses that are owned and run collectively by the workers themselves.
As the omicron variant surged into the new year, pushing statewide infection rates in Maryland past 30% and sending Baltimore City residents scrambling for COVID-19 tests and N95 masks, Baltimore City spent more money on the Baltimore Police Department. On Dec. 23, Baltimore City’s Board Of Estimates approved $18 million for three new police helicopters. The three new helicopters will replace the four old helicopters purchased in 2011 for $9.5 million, Baltimore Brew reported. It was the latest burst of additional funding since the Baltimore City Council voted to give the Baltimore Police a $28 million budget increase back in June 2021. In September, $6.5 million in revenue from red light cameras, supposedly allotted to make streets safer for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, was instead given to the police.
In 1930, Adelyn Dohme Breeskin became the Baltimore Museum of Art’s first appointed curator of prints—and the first paid staff curator in the fine arts. A recent BMA exhibition, Adelyn Breeskin: Curating a Legacy, commended her work at the museum, which included helping to secure the Cone Collection and establish the print department. According to curator Laura Albans, Breeskin was born into a wealthy Baltimore family, moved away for school, and later returned as a divorcee with three kids who needed a job. In 1942, when all the men had gone to war, Breeskin became interim director, and then in 1945 became director of the museum until 1962. From the museum’s founding in 1914 until Breeskin’s 1930 hire, curators were typically wealthy volunteers stewarding a collection for the public without pay.
In late May, a crowd descended on Central Baltimore’s 6,000 square foot Ynot Lot for a day of free food and entertainment. Local artists like the contagiously candid Lor Choc, the sharp-rapping Fmb Foreign, and decorated Baltimore Club DJ Scottie B took the lot’s stage. Onlookers danced in their respective circles, many holding cloudy, ice cold bottles of water to contend with the sweltering sun. Others occupied shady spots to permanently plop down in. Just outside the Ynot were mobile stations providing confidential STI/HIV testing, as well as COVID-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer. By all accounts, the star that day wasn’t the artists onstage, but the person who facilitated the event: Iya Dammons, founder of Baltimore Safe Haven (BSH), whose leadership was clear from the outset.
Baltimore, MD - The battle to keep Black, brown, and other marginalized people safe from police violence is like a fire that has burned for as long as this country has existed. Hot spots flare up when this country’s hatred for Black and Brown people becomes more apparent, making the heat more intense and the pain more unbearable. It feels like we are in one of those moments where the fire is burning especially strong right now. This week, a jury found former officer Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd. In May of last year, Chauvin was caught on tape kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Floyd begged for his life. We reached out to State Sen. Jill Carter and Del. Gabriel Acevero, two Maryland lawmakers who were instrumental in getting comprehensive policing legislation passed here in Maryland just a few weeks ago.
Last summer, during what some have called the largest social justice uprising in United States history, the lives of Black trans people were ignored. While many rightly raged against the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, few know the names of Black trans people like Kim Wirtz, who have also been murdered by a racist policing and prison system. In Baltimore, trans activists from the LGBTQ organization Baltimore Safe Haven protested, demanding an end to police violence and an end to the erasure of the Black trans community. The Real News’ Eddie Conway talks to activists on the ground in Baltimore about their fight.