Young woman speaking at lectern

Equipping Youth to Be Advocates Cannot Be Optional, Baltimore Experience Shows

I vividly remember the Maryland State Senate hearings on Feb. 1, 2018. I was hardly three weeks into my first legislative session, preparing to give my first-ever testimony against a bill egregious to youth justice reform, while simultaneously teaching myself how one even becomes an “Annapolis advocate.”

gun violence: broken and melted-down guns

Baltimore Is Tackling the Problem of Youth Violence With Its Ceasefire Movement

Violence perpetrated by youth continues to have far-reaching costs for society: It contributes to injury, community dysfunction, poor physical and mental health, lost economic output and premature death. In the United States, an average of 12 young people die from homicide every day, and homicide remains the third leading cause of death among youth 10 to 24 years old.

4th of 6 Officers Acquitted in Freddie Gray Case

A circuit court judge acquitted Lt. Brian Rice of all charges related to the arrest and death of Freddie Gray today, the Baltimore Sun reported. The next trial of an officer in the case is scheduled for July 27.

Young Protesters React to Not-Guilty Verdict in Baltimore

As word of the not guilty verdict spread from the second-floor courtroom down to the crowd waiting in the street below, resident Shana Ashby, 21, stood across from the courthouse and worried about how the verdict will affect her four younger siblings.

Maryland Gov. Not Backing Proposed Juvenile Detention Facility in Baltimore

The proposed state budget released by Gov. Martin O’Malley last week indicates that Maryland will not be funding the construction of a controversial youth detention facility in Baltimore. The Baltimore Sun reports that O’Malley’s 2014 FY capital spending plan does not include funding for a proposed 120-bed, $70 million youth jail in Baltimore City. Originally announced in 2008 by Gov. O’Malley, construction plans for the Baltimore City New Youth Detention Facility — at one point, expected to house 180 inmates at a construction cost of $100 million — has been in limbo for the last five years, with the Maryland House Appropriations Committee declaring the project suspended in April 2012. Even so, the Baltimore Sun reports that the state has already allocated $14 million for the planning and design of the youth detention facility and an additional $17 million for first phase construction costs. The planned facility has been met with criticism and protests from several groups and organizations, with a white paper released by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency arguing that such a large project was unneeded, considering the city’s decreasing crime rates.

Swimming Pools, Not Prisons

Until I was in the sixth grade my family lived on an Air Force base in South Georgia. The base was a great place for kids. From the time I was six or seven I could ride my bike to wherever I wanted to go. Trips to the movies or the library were a lot of fun, and my parents didn’t have to worry about whether or not I was safe. In the summer my favorite bike ride was to the swimming pool.