BRIDGE Maryland sees the state challenged by a history of inequity but engaged in community organizing for a more just tomorrow.
BRIDGE Maryland uses intentional relationship building, organizing and intensive leadership development in order to strengthen congregations and faith leaders to demonstrate and advance justice in the world.
In 2000, religious leaders began to explore the creation of a faith-based, interdenominational regional organization. BRIDGE (Baltimore Regional Initiative Developing Genuine Equality) was organized in 2000 and formally came into existence in January of 2001. BRIDGE promoted fair housing and zoning, anti-sprawl development, and expanded and more equitable educational funding in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area.
In 2016, B.R.I.D.G.E. reconstituted itself as BRIDGE Maryland, Inc., honoring our founding leader Rev. David Casey’s vision of a statewide organization.
Current Issues and Action
We measure our work by the mission we share; therefore we report directly from the Mission Statement:
…intentional relationship building:
• As an organization we conduct one to one conversations to build membership and alliances;
• Our organizer, Rev. M. Gayle Briscoe, knows the whereabouts of all of our active congregations, their clergy's health and the status of potential BRIDGE Maryland members.
• We are pursuing a strategic growth plan, increasing our congregational and clergy membership in Anne Arundel, Caroline, Talbot and Harford Counties. We have broadened our diversity, including Muslim and Jewish members and allies who share our vision.
- We hold an annual "BRIDGE to Annapolis" event during the Legislative Session (93 citizens attended this year) to educate our representatives on our concerns and engage their commitments.
- We work on voter engagement and turnout through Integrated Voter Engagement throughout the year and "Souls to the Polls" during the early voting periods.
- We consult with and educate our membership through at least bimonthly General Assembly and monthly Religious Leaders' Caucus meetings.
- We have worked with Labor Unions (SEIU, AFSCME, 1099, IUPAT, etc.), and other organizations like Maryland Working Families, Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters, Moms Rising, The Maryland Housing Authority, CASA, the H.O.M.E. Act Coalition, Strong Schools Maryland, Baltimore Transportation Equity on issues and projects of mutual concern.
…intensive leadership development:
- Over a hundred of our members have received Leadership and Organizing Training from the Gamaliel Network, including National Leadership Training, Ntosake Women's Leadership Training, and Race and Power training.
- We hosted the National Ntosake Women's Leadership training in the fall of 2019.
- We conducted a local 2-day training for 57 people in Issues and Action in January 2020.
- We conduct Effective Meeting, Relationship Building, Issue Analysis and Power Analysis training throughout the year at General Assembly and Religious Leaders' Caucus meetings.
- We have sponsored and led a mentoring program, Pathways to a Purpose, partnering with Black Professional Men and Initiative Baltimore to develop African-American male leaders for today and tomorrow.
…to strengthen congregations and faith leaders
• Our leaders are leaders in the National Network of Gamaliel www.gamaliel.org
• Our clergy leaders have used our training and network to invigorate their own congregations and impact their communities.
…to demonstrate and advance justice in the world.
- We have testified at Baltimore City Hall, Baltimore County Council and in Annapolis on legislation and funding for equitable housing, reform of the juvenile justice system, a regional transportation authority, fair employment and leave practices, and for a full and equitably funded public education system in our state (Blueprint for Maryland's Future)
- We are conducting outreach campaigns to encourage completion of the 2020 Census, make our neighbors aware of resources during the current pandemic, and facilitate engagement in the elections this year.
We continually speak out against injustice and for mercy in our city, counties and state!