Community Perspectives on Crime and Policing at Third Neighborhood Conversations Series
Please join us for “Community Perspectives on Crime and Policing,” our third and final Strong City Neighborhood Conversation of 2020! The event will take place Thursday, November 12 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. The previous events in this series focused on “Neighborhood Leaders Respond to the Pandemic” and “The 2020 Election: Community Views and Challenges.”
The proper role of the police has been widely debated both nationally and locally. Strong City is convening a diverse group of community leaders and thinkers to help chart a course as the city prepares for new leadership. Our goal is bringing to light the best ideas and solutions for Baltimore’s interrelated challenges of unacceptably high violent crime rates and a police department that has often at odds with the communities it is supposed to “protect and serve.” We will be hearing from the following leaders:
Ray Kelly, a lifelong resident of West Baltimore and a seasoned community organizer, is internationally recognized for working for social and restorative justice, better community and police relations, as well as legislative reform. As Director of the No Boundaries Coalition, he was the driving force behind forming the West Baltimore Community Commission on Police Conduct. In 2018, Ray was appointed to the Civilian Oversight Taskforce and became its Chair. He serves as Director of the Citizens Policing Project and as Lead Community Liaison for the team appointed to oversee implementation of the Baltimore Police Department Consent Decree.
Leonard Spain, a West Baltimore resident, is a program case manager in the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Hospital Responders Program. Leonard, a returning citizen and survivor of gun violence, works with the violence-interruption initiative Safe Streets to deescalate and mediate disputes. Starting with a bedside visit, responders work to form a trusting relationship with patients injured by violence, helping them identify positive aspects of their lives that outweigh any benefit of returning to street corners, gangs or other potentially violent situations. Leonard holds a master’s degree in Conflict Management from the University of Baltimore.
Ganesha Martin, Esq., is a change agent working at the intersection of diversity, law, and police reform. An expert on police reform, she has a unique perspective from working in the Baltimore Mayor’s Office, working within police departments, and now monitoring other police departments around the country. She regularly speaks and trains on DOJ consent decrees, police reform and accountability, and public safety. A member of the Council on Criminal Justice, she was selected as Top 40 under 40 by the International Chiefs of Police and the Baltimore Community Mediation Center’s advocate of the year.
Maura Dwyer is a volunteer with SURJ Baltimore (Showing Up for Racial Justice), part of a national network that seeks to undermine white supremacy and to work toward racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice. Maura, a Northeast Baltimore native and a graduate of MICA with a BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture, has worked with a mural collective to transform education spaces into interactive learning environments, taught mural workshops across Maryland through Young Audiences, and participated in Baltimore City’s annual arts festivals.
Moderating the conversation will be Mike Cross-Barnet, Strong City’s Manager of Neighborhood Programs, who oversees all aspects of the organization’s traditional neighborhood work including Community Schools, housing, and Strong City’s annual Neighborhood Institute for grassroots leaders. Mike, a resident of Reservoir Hill, has lived in Baltimore since 2004 and joined the Strong City staff in 2015.
Neighborhood Conversations was created to engage some of the most committed, innovative community leaders in Baltimore and learn how they are addressing our city’s challenges. Audience participation is welcome, so mark your calendar now and register here to join us November 12 at noon on Zoom, or tune in to the live conversation on our Facebook page.