by Charles Shafer, Baltimore Ethical Society
The Baltimore Ethical Society is engaging in “Talk to Action,” a series of activities addressing issues systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We work closely with Out For Justice, an organization of previously incarcerated citizens.
We have devoted several of our Sunday platforms to both hearing from those trapped inside an unjust criminal justice system and working in small groups discussing strategies for to improve the situation, such as pursuing improving police/community relations, developing a manageable list of activities to pursue, and learning lobbying strategies. In addition we have participated in community activities such as expungement clinics for exoffenders and sponsored events such as a public program attended by about 100 people to view videos, meet legislators, hear from returning citizens, and develop plans.
The vast bulk of our membership understands the abuses perpetrated in the name of justice and the urgent need for reform. However, by engaging in these activities instead of just sitting around and agreeing with each other, we may actually make a difference. Most importantly we have the opportunity to work with, and learn from, many wonderful people in the exoffender community.
“Talk to Action” participants will be meeting often at our Sunday sessions and community events, and assisting in lobbying, exoffender voter registration, and taking other forms of direct action. We publicize these activities in Meetup sites, Facebook page, and monthly BESpeak newsletter.