On July 28, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson created the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission, to investigate the causes of race-related uprisings that had taken place in Detroit and dozens of other cities, and to provide recommendations for the future. We are now in the midst of the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission.
The Kerner Report was released on February 29, 1968, after seven months of investigation, revealing that poverty, racism, and the police were the cause of the unrest in inner city Black communities. Its most famous passage states, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” President Johnson silenced the report, refusing to release it. It was nevertheless published by Bantam Books, under a pre-existing agreement, and became a national best-seller. When you read the report, it feels as if it could have been written today.
We talk with Former Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris, the last surviving member of the Kerner Commission.
I hope you enjoy this fascinating and timely conversation.
Our first group of guests will talk about policing, perceived racial biases of police, and police/community relationships in neighborhoods such as Sandtown-Winchester. With: Tiffany Welch, Director of Health and Food Access for the No Boundaries Coalition; and Ray Kelly, community organizer with the No Boundaries Coalition.
Today our panel of guests reflect on the Iowa Brown and Black Forum, the nation’s oldest minority-focused Presidential forum. All three Democratic Presidential candidates will participate. Our panel of guests includes Charles Ellison, political strategist and Host of The Ellison Report on WEAA; Dani McClain, contributing writer for The Nation and Fellow at the Nation Institute where she focuses on race and reproductive justice; and ER Shipp, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Journalist-in-Residence and Associate Professor of Journalism at Morgan State University.
We begin the show with a look at the shooting last week of a Philadelphia police officer who alleges he performed the shooting in the name of Islam. We are joined by Charles Ellison, political strategist and Host of The Ellison Report on WEAA; Imam Derrick Amin, Muslim Chaplain at Morgan State University; Zainab Chaudry, Maryland Outreach Manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations; and Tariq Touré, writer, poet and activist.
Today we discuss closing statements in the trial of William Porter and the death of Freddie Gray and now it’s up to the jury. Our panel will reflect on the trial and its implications. They examine a number of issues, including jury instructions and how difficult it might be for the jury to convict Officer Porter. Joining us is Lisa Gray, Assistant Director of Student Life for Cultural and Spiritual Diversity at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC); Eugene Craig III, grassroots activist and 3rd Vice-Chair of the Maryland Republican State Party; and Charles Ellison, political strategist and Host of The Ellison Report on WEAA.
Today we preview Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle presents The Foundation, a compilation album. The Foundation is comprised of multiple music genres and media clips addressing police accountability with a strategic emphasis on the mission of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle with: DevRock, Minister of Culture for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle; and Chelsea Monaé, Baltimore native, singer, songwriter, poet, and emerging recording artist featured on The Foundation.
A report issued today by the Police Executive Research Forum, “Lessons Learned from the 2015 Civil Unrest in Baltimore,” indicates that the Baltimore Police Department was ill-prepared to handle the uprising following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray last April. Our panel of guests look at this report as well as the news over the weekend that Baltimore’s homicide rate surpassed the 300 mark. We are joined by Catalina Byrd, media consultant and political strategist; Luke Broadwater, reporter at theBaltimore Sun, where he covers Baltimore’s City Hall and local politics; Michael Eugene Johnson, community leader and Executive Director of the Paul Robeson Institute for Social Change; and Dayvon Love, Director of Research and Public Policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle.
We take a look at the Baltimore story that is reverberating across the nation: What happened to Freddie Gray, the 25-year old man who died of a spinal injury on Sunday, a week after being chased and tackled by police officers in Baltimore.
Our panel of guests includes: Dr. Kimberly Moffitt, Associate Professor of American Studies at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and co-editor ofBlackberries and Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair/Body Politics in Africana Communities; the Rev. Dr. Heber Brown, Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church and Executive Director of Orita’s Cross Freedom School; Tawanda Jones, sister of Tyrone West, a man who died while in police custody in July 2013 in Baltimore; Megan Sherman, Producer at The Real News Network; Tim Wilson, co-Director of On Our Shoulders; A. F. James MacArthur, blogger for the Baltimore Spectator, who spent several months in jail in 2013, following a standoff with the police; and Ray Cook.
We host a local news roundtable, where we discuss police violence, this past weekend’s 300 Man March, and Freddie Gray, who died last week while in police custody in Baltimore. With: Bobby Marvin Holmes, Founder of Son of a Dream, a multimedia social development firm committed to empowering youth and families, and co-director and producer of Live Young Blood; John P. Comer, Lead Organizer of Communities United; Tyrone Powers, Professor in the Criminal Justice department at Anne Arundel Community College and former FBI agent; and Sonia Kumar, Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Maryland.
Our panel of guests discusses ways to transform criminal justice policy in Baltimore and Maryland. With: the Rev. Dr. Heber Brown, community activist, pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church and Executive Director of Orita’s Cross Freedom School; David Rocah, Senior Staff Attorney for ACLU of Maryland; and Marc Schindler, Executive Director of the Justice Policy Institute.
We are joined by Charnell D. Cobb-El, Site Director of The Baltimore Algebra Project at Patterson High School and Executive Director and Founder of Convert Consulting, who tells us about an action on Thursday, March 5th on the wrongful arrests by Baltimore City Police against young people of color as well as the school funding crisis.
Maryland legislators are considering a controversial bill that would lift restrictions on when police officers could carry their weapons, allowing them to carry them inside schools, an issue that was hotly debated in a Baltimore City School Board public hearing this week. Baltimore City is the only school system in the state that has its own designated police force. Joining us to discuss the issue are: Sgt. Clyde Boatwright,President of the Baltimore City School Police Union; Rais Akbar, Juvenile Justice Director at Advocates for Children and Youth; school resource officer Donovan Brooks; and Dr. Kimberly Moffitt, Associate Professor of American Studies at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and co-editor of Blackberries and Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair/Body Politics in Africana Communities.
We examine the role of police in schools, in light of the video that went viral last week of an officer interacting violently with Baltimore middle school students. We will also examine Delegate John Cluster’s (R-8th District) proposed bill to put armed school resource officers in all Maryland schools.
With: Mo Canady, Executive Director of NASRO, National Association of School Resource Officers; Sara Love, Public Policy Director of the ACLU of Maryland; Kate Rabb, Education Policy Director for Advocates for Children and Youth, who wrote an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun in response to the incident; Jenny Egan, Juvenile Public Defender in Baltimore City focusing on school-based arrests, who also wrote an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun in response to the incident; and Andrew Turner, Supervisor for Safe Schools for Wicomico County Public Schools.
In the wake of last week’s shooting deaths of two police officers in New York City, we discuss the growing tensions and divides between police and communities across the country. With: 33-year police veteran Retired Major Neill Franklin,Executive Director of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition); and the Rev. Merrick Moise, writer, community activist, teacher, and one of the first African-Americans ordained within the Old Catholic Movement in Baltimore.
In coordination with The Daily Record and in lead-up to the 2015 Maryland Legislative Session, we look at the issue of police body cameras, with: David Rocah,senior staff attorney for ACLU of Maryland; and Delegate Sandy Rosenberg (District 41-Baltimore City), who sponsored body camera legislation last session.
We will look at the decision of the Grand Jury in St. Louis, MO, that decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August, with: Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (St. Louis County – District 14), who has been attending the protests in Ferguson since the beginning; Dr. Lawrence Brown, public health consultant and Assistant Professor of Public Health in the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University; Mothyna James-Brightful, Visionary Director for Heal A Woman To Heal A Nation and Cameron Miles, Director of Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood.
Listen to a special 2-hour broadcast of excerpts from a town hall meeting I moderated Wednesday night at the Real News Network, on the role of the community in the Police Department. The panel and the audience – including representatives from the Baltimore Police Department, public officials, activists and community members – debated and discussed the issues and possible solutions.
Included in the discussion were: the ACLU’s Sonia Kumar; community activist Kim Trueheart; Adam Jackson of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle; Chief of the Baltimore Police Department’s Community Partnership Division Lt. Col. Melvin Russell; criminal defense attorney J. Wyndal Gordon; former Black Panther Marshall “Eddie” Conway; Baltimore County Police Department Lt. Jeffrey Shorter; Alok Mukherjee of the Toronto Police Services Board; and Dr. Ray Winbush of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University.
Click here to see a transcript of the town hall and the full-length video of the event.
The country is braced for the Grand Jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, regarding whether to indict a police officer who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown on August 9. We examine the possible outcomes in this case and their implications.
Our panel of guests includes: Edward Wyckoff Williams, Contributing Editor at The Root and Political Contributor and Special Correspondent withAlJazeera America; Megan Sherman, producer at the Real News Network; and Dr. Lawrence Brown, activist, public health consultant, and Assistant Professor of Public Health in the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University.
We host a panel discussion about controversies regarding issues of accountability within the Baltimore Police Department, with: Mark Puente, investigative reporter for The Baltimore Sun; David Rocah, senior staff attorney for ACLU of Maryland; Jacqueline Robarge, Founder and Director of Power Inside;Neill Franklin, Executive Director of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition); and Tessa Hill-Aston, President of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP.
We look at the recent Baltimore City Council vote in favor of the new Curfew Law, with: Councilman Carl Stokes, who voted against the measure; Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who voted in favor of the measure; Jason Tashea, Juvenile Justice Policy Director at Advocates for Children and Youth; and DeShawn Batson, Youth Commissioner representing the 13th District.
We also hear briefly from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on her perspectives on the curfew bill.
We look at new developments in the case of Tyrone West, the Baltimore man who died while under police custody this past summer in Northeast Baltimore. We also investigate the question of why the Maryland State Medical Examiner’s office rules that such a high number of deaths happen as a result of undetermined causes.
Joining us are: Tawanda Jones, Tyrone West’s sister; George Peoples, Tyrone West’s uncle; Jamie Richardson, Tyrone West’s cousin; The Rev. Delman Coates, Senior Pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Maryland, and candidate for Maryland Lieutenant Governor on the ticket with Delegate Heather Mizeur; Jacqueline Robarge, Director and Founder of Power Inside; Justin Fenton, crime reporter for the Baltimore Sun; Dr. Jerald Insel, Chief of Cardiology at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital; Councilman Nick Mosby of Baltimore’s 7th District; and Atoya Leatherbury, Morgan State University student and reporter for Morgan’s paper The Spokesman.
Hear our interview with Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts. We discuss issues facing Baltimore, including murders in the city, gang violence, police training, and officer-involved shootings. Comment with your unanswered questions and feedback for the Commissioner, who will be joining us in the coming month for a live segment.
We hear from families who have had family members killed by the police in Baltimore and who are working to create a CommUnity park in the vacant lot where one of the men was killed.
Members of the families of Anthony Anderson, Sr., who was killed by the police on September 21, 2012 at the age of 46, and Tyrone West, who was killed by the same police unit on July 18th, share their stories and tell us about an event taking place this weekend on Anthony Anderson’s birthday:
The Anderson Family is inviting the people of Baltimore to join them on August 31, 2013, from 12PM to 8PM at East Biddle & North Montford, to celebrate the life of Anthony Anderson, on what would have been his 47th birthday. They plan to bring life back to the vacant lot where he was killed, by turning the abandoned field into a CommUnity Park. They will be spending the day cleaning the lot and planting flowers, vegetables, and trees while distributing free food and books to the community. They will also use the opportunity to demand a fair investigation into the death of Tyrone West.
Members of New Lens Productions join us in-studio. Babatunde Salaam, Advocacy Leader at New Lens Productions and finalist for Peace First Prize, and Megan Sherman, Production Leader at News Lens Productions.
New Lens is a youth-driven social justice organization that creates art and media around issues on which they believe a youth perspective can inspire change. The members will discuss their programs to increase understanding between Baltimore’s youth and the police.
We start off the week with a roundtable on national news stories, including instances of policy brutality across the country, Edward Snowden, and President Obama’s speech on NSA surveillance. Our guests include:
Arun Gupta, founding Editor of the Indypendent magazine;
Dr.Anne McCarthy, Dean of the Business School at Hamline University;
Dr. John Bullock, professor of Political Science at Towson University;
and Tony Prince, Midwest Vice President for the National Lawyers Guild and founder of the Network for Revolutionary Change.
We sit down with Neill Franklin, Executive Director of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) and a 33-year police veteran, to discuss a multitude of issues, from racial profiling of Black men to the status and impact of the international War on Drugs.
Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com staff writer, joins us to talk about his recent article How Boston Exposes America’s Dark Post-9/11 Bargain. O’Hehir argues that U.S. residents have traded their rights for alleged security, but in actuality have received neither in return.
We talk to Dayvon Love, the Director of Research and Public Policy of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), about an event that LBS is organizing next week at Morgan State University. The event is called “The Dorner Debate: Revolutionary or Murderer?” and will be a policy debate about the motivations and intentions of Christoper Dorner. The debate will be held at the Morgan State University Communications Building in Room 101 on Wednesday, February 27 at 7:00PM. We’ll speak with Dayvon about the launching of a debate program at Morgan as well.
We close out the hour with a couple songs from Nina Simone, the High Priestess of Soul, who would have turned 80 years old tomorrow.
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