Bridge Maryland, Inc., a 501(c)(3) Organization
3200 Garrison Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21216

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Workgroups and Strategy Groups

Workgroups:
Transformational Justice Workgroup

Transformational Justice Workgroup

Building Power

District 46 Campaign – Erase the F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real)

Two of the most powerful players in the State Legislature represent District 46. We are working on a strategy to reach them via community organizing to get their support for the Youth First Justice Act which will start all criminal proceedings against children and youth under 18 in the Juvenile Legal System.

Cutting an Issue – Youth First Justice Act (Auto-Charging of Juveniles)

Research has shown that sending children and youth into adult jails while awaiting a judgment of a crime as adults or juveniles has an adverse impact on the youth’s long-term mentality, such that 87% of most offenses are remanded back to Juvenile Court anyway. This is a waste of time and money. It also hardens children to do repeat offenses which are called ‘recidivism.’ However, further research shows that children processed in the juvenile system receive services to make better choices. To that end, we will be supporting efforts to pass legislation that starts all criminal proceedings for children and youth under 18 in the Juvenile Legal System. The prosecution will continue to have the authority to waive a child up into the adult system as deemed necessary by the judiciary.

There is a narrative floating around that children in Baltimore City are running wild and that citizens are in great danger. We need to research/disprove this perception and offer evidence that crimes being committed are not as severe as being perceived.

Building Power

The Child Interrogation Protection Law Tour

We will be hosting town hall meetings, addressing school boards, and canvassing drop-off and pickup community schools with awareness literature on the landmark legislation enacted on Oct 1, 2022. We will also be collecting information from parents and guardians about being a part of similar legislation and the role BMI can play in their communities with training, advocacy, and self-empowerment.

Chairs: Rev. Dr. Marlon Tilghman, Ms. Linda Watts

To join the fight for Transformational Justice, Contact our Organizer, Hannah Freeman at bridgemdbc@gmail.com


Education Justice Workgroup

Education Justice Workgroup

The Education Workgroup serves to fulfill the agenda of BRIDGE Maryland, Inc. - to educate and organize people to support just and equitable education for all people in the state of Maryland. We organize students, teachers, staff, and the community at large to be leaders in the fight to benefit and advance our public education system.

We believe that education is power. We believe that public education is a right. We believe that public education can be transformative for our communities if properly funded and implemented. Therefore, our mission is to close the education gap by collaborating with parents, students, teachers, and members of the community. Our fight for education justice is focused on community schools, a strategy for public schools where the community is invested in the school’s success and the school is invested in the community’s success. As allies in the fight for the passage of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, we are committed to ensuring that community schools are implemented with fidelity to a transformational model at each school in Maryland. This is only possible with a knowledgeable and active voter base which we are building through registration drives, door to door canvassing, and parent/guardian training on how to be effective leaders in community schools. As part of the Baltimore County Education Justice Table, we are currently conducting listening sessions to identify community concerns.

Chair: Dr. Helen Holton

Education is the path to freedom. To join our/your (or the) fight for education justice, please contact bridgemdbc@gmail.com


Housing Justice Workgroup

Housing Justice Workgroup

BRIDGE Maryland (BMI) believes that everyone deserves safe and affordable housing and continues to work towards achieving this goal. This is a long-term effort that takes commitment because results are slow to achieve. Members of The BMI Housing Task Force are currently focused on a pending inclusionary housing bill for Baltimore City (22-0195). The bill is sponsored by City councilwoman, Odette Ramos. This bill is needed to replace a prior flawed bill which was allowed to sunset by the City Council president prior to amending it to address the flaws.

BMI members have been participating in weekly meetings with other housing advocates and have formed an Inclusionary Housing Coalition. These meetings organized a rally on 10/3/22 to raise awareness of the issue. The rally was located at the Inner Harbor in front of 414 Light Street, a high-end development that received public money without providing any affordable units.

City Council held an initial hearing on the bill on 11/17/22 with several BRIDGE members testifying in favor of the bill both in-person and in written form, along with the many partners of the Housing Coalition. More work lies ahead as we strive to pass a strong bill.

Co-chairs: Rev. Dr. Doreion Colter and Ms. Nancy Newman

New energy is always needed to continue working on housing justice with more BMI members involved in the task force. Email us at bridgemdbc@gmail.com if you are interested!


Strategy Groups:
Religious Leaders’ Caucus

Religous Leaders' Caucus

The Religious Leaders’ Caucus (RLC) is comprised of religious leaders or clerics representing faith-based assemblies throughout our Maryland communities. The RLC is a strategy group within BRIDGE Maryland to garner collective power through building relationships, developing leaders, training, and addressing the self-interests of our faith-based assemblies and congregations. Faith leaders of every tradition are invited to join the membership of the RLC as we seek to organize power through our faith, common values, and diverse sacred traditions. Through the RLC, we are committed to building a powerful organization utilizing a theological framework and sound organizing principles. We are committed to taking action, shaping the narrative of our work, and building a diverse and inclusive membership.

Chairs: Rev. Harriet Dennis, Rev. Cleveland Mason

Join Us! For more information, contact Rev. Gayle Briscoe at bridgemdbc@gmail.com


Ntosake

Ntosake

NTOSAKE is a leadership development program established in 2001 for affiliates of Gamaliel. Our purpose is to help women understand their own powerful histories, allies, relationships, obstacles, and motivations in order to become more powerful and more effective. We generally hold meetings on the 4th Saturday morning of every other month.

NTOSAKE means, “She who walks with lions and carries her own things”. It is a program conducted by women for women and is designed to acknowledge and respond to the fact that:
The process of learning for women is distinct from that of men. Women bring important qualities and attitudes to the public arena that must be appreciated and reflected in the organization’s work; and, Women desire and need a place where they can support each other and create responses to their own needs.

Our goal is to lead women from: Apathy to action. Follower to leader. Private to public. Observer to actor. Passive faith to faith-in-action; and,
Powerlessness to power.

BRIDGE MARYLAND NTOSAKE PRIDE was established in 2017 and our women are serving as leaders, creating on-going new opportunities in the difficult work of transforming faith communities and the world. The BMI Ntosake Pride led a Get Out The Vote Campaign as a justice action of BRIDGE Maryland, Inc. The campaign included:

Training 7 new Voter Registration Volunteers Developing voter fact information in both flier and PowerPoint formats. These were made available to the Religious Leaders Caucus and members of BMI to be used during church announcements or posted to keep people aware of the upcoming election, and steps for ensuring their vote is cast and counted. Mailing 500 postcards to encourage persons who are registered to vote but did not vote in the primary election, to make sure to cast their vote in the upcoming election. Partnering with the Education Workgroup for a voter registration and press conference event at Coppin State University. Leading a Voter phone banking event on October 22: 9 callers participated; 3,714 calls made; 96 conversations completed; 20 total calling hours.

Leader: Rev. Valerie A. Barnes If you are interested in learning more about Ntosake, contact our Organizer, Rev. Gayle Briscoe at bridgemdbc@gmail.com

Bridge Maryland, Inc., a 501(c)(3) Organization

3200 Garrison Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21216
Phone: (929) 274-3430

Website: www.bridgemd.org
Email:
bridgemdbc@gmail.com

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