I hope you and your loved ones well and you are staying safe during this pandemic. My office and I have been extremely busy responding to constituents on a myriad of issues related to the pandemic since session ended last March. As you know, Senator Shirley Nathan Pulliam retired after more than two decades of service to the citizens of Maryland. I submitted my name to be considered for appointment to serve out her term. I was selected by the Governor and I was sworn in on the General Assembly’s opening day, January 8, 2020. My selection would not have been possible without the outpouring of support.
Upon entering the State Senate, I was appointed to serve on the Judicial Proceeding Committee (“JPR”), akin to the House’s Judiciary Committee on which I was privileged to serve. JPR acts on legislation relating to constitutional amendments; corporations and associations; correctional facilities and services; criminal and civil laws, penalties, and procedures; family law; human relations; judicial administration and court structure; juvenile justice; law enforcement organizations; the legal profession; legal rights and immunities; public safety; real property, including landlord and tenant laws; trusts and estates; and vehicle laws, including drunk driving.
While I was unable to send the 2020 End of Session letter at the time I generally would, nevertheless I am proud of the work done during the 2020 Session and encourage you to read my full letter about those effort and district highlights by clicking here. I am continually honored by your support. Please stay safe and continue to wear those masks.
Building Coalition on Important Issues
Last month, I joined fellow members of the Maryland Black Caucus in a meeting with Governor Larry Hogan to discuss several issues of significance to District 44 and communities throughout the state. Education, public safety, and transportation are just a few of the topics we broached, but they are all part of a continuing conversation of how the state can work with constituents and elected officials to improve quality of life for all Marylanders.
A Busy Season of Advocacy
The last few weeks have been an exciting period for me, as I began my new work as a member of the state senate, and continue my advocacy for Baltimore City and Baltimore County residents on important issues facing our communities.
Honoring Dr. King
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. encouraged us to challenge society’s ills with a ‘divine dissatisfaction.’ He wrote “Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history, and every family is living in a decent sanitary home.”
Hundreds Assemble in Annapolis in Support of Fair Treatment for Maryland’s HBCUs
I was honored to stand with hundreds of students, graduates and supporters of Maryland’s historically black colleges and universities in Annapolis last month to call for a settlement to the state’s decades-long legal fight against correcting the discrimination of its past.
Fifth Annual Expungement Fair A Success
When I was first elected, I expressed a desire to help people to gain employment. One of the ways I have helped to make this a reality was to host expungement clinics. The benefits this clinic can create for people, from expanding employment opportunities and housing options, are very meaningful.
Justice Delayed in Maryland Higher Education
We are a little more than a month out from the beginning of the academic year at many of our two-year and four-year public institutions throughout Maryland. What should be an exciting time for students, parents, and alumni has turned into a parade of headlines showcasing a history of maltreatment and illegal discrimination against our state’s four historically black institutions.
Back To School!
It is that time of year again! Along with thousands of families across Baltimore County, Myra and I have prepared for our girls’ return to school this week. We purchased school supplies, checked school schedules, and stocked up on their favorite snacks for lunches. Our eldest daughter is beginning her sophomore year of high school and our youngest daughter joining her sister in middle school.
More than 35 years ago, residents in neighborhood watch programs nationwide decided to build awareness of their public safety efforts by establishing the National Night Out initiative. It started as an opportunity for citizens to interact with public safety officers and leaders in an effort to build more trust and participation in the concept of community policing.
Today, the National Night Out program engages over 38 million citizens in 16,000 communities nationwide. Tonight it will be my great privilege to join National Night Out activities in a number of District 44B’s great communities. While social events surrounding National Night Out typically receive the most attention, this event is also an extraordinary opportunity for citizens to ask questions and to provide feedback on critical issues of community policing and relations with public safety officers.
I am looking forward to working with leaders and stakeholders from each of these areas, as we convene neighbors and officers to determine ways to fortify great existing programs and partnerships aimed at positive community relations, and how to create new ones.
It is my great hope that you enjoyed the holiday weekend with your family friends. We all know the Fourth of July as a time to reflect upon and celebrate the formation of our great country, but I wanted to briefly share some interesting, lesser-known facts about our state’s role in the formation of the United States of America.
Many know that Maryland and other colonies declared independence from Great Britain in 1776. Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, and Charles Carroll of Maryland signed the Declaration of Independence on behalf of the colony. Before this declaration, an anonymous writer called Marylanders to action in the name of freedom.
A self-described Friend to America wrote:
"The people are now loudly called upon to exercise their right of instructing their deputies in convention, in this very important matter, remembering, that discord in America, only can enslave it, and that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Let the people in the respective counties meet and draw up suitable instructions, for the careful observance of which, let their honor be pledged…. These crude hints are offered to your consideration, by a sincere friend to America."