Our political advocacy is based on the cultivation of deep relationships to many segments of the Black community and to use the support that this provides us as our primary leverage to advocate policy positions that are in the interest of Black people. Our ability to impact policy is based on the years of community organizing and community service that has translated to a base of support that authentically represents the depth and diversity of the Black community in Baltimore.
We also tap into the rich cultural and intellectual resources that reside in our community to form the basis of our intellectual and political analysis. Our fidelity to the Black Radical Tradition and a worldview rooted in Pan Africanism guides the intellectual production that guides our approach to our political advocacy.
In 2022, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Child Interrogation Protection Act (CIPA). This legislation mandates that before a police officer can conduct a custodial interrogation of a minor, their parent must be notified, and an attorney must be present.
The purpose of this law is to protect youth from being coerced into giving false confessions to law enforcement. The law enforcement establishment has vehemently opposed this legislation and other juvenile justice reform measures.
During the 2024 session, we will need to apply pressure to the legislature to ensure that this law is not repealed or watered down.
The Police Accountability Act of 2021 required each jurisdiction to establish Police Accountability Boards. These boards should ideally be comprised of community members representing the community.
While the new accountability framework invites more external involvement in the discipline and oversight of police officers, they still largely rely on investigations conducted by the department.
This bill would allow PABs to conduct independent, external investigations to ensure transparency.
Our policy battle in Maryland began with a focus on using the legalization of recreational cannabis to establish reparations for the war on drugs. Through the establishment of the Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund, we were able to achieve this objective.
Now, we aim to expand the fight for reparations using the same mechanism of the Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund to establish revenues that will redistribute more money into this fund for the purpose of repairing the harm done to Black people by the system of white supremacy.
Even though Maryland has legalized recreational cannabis, there are still criminal penalties for the possession of cannabis above 2.5 oz.
The fact that cannabis is legal, and people are not likely to keep track of the exact amount on them, presents the risk of individuals being exposed to interactions with the criminal justice system merely because they possess an amount of cannabis above the 2.5 oz limit.
Eliminating criminal penalties and replacing them with civil citations for possession above the 2.5 limit will reduce the exposure that Black people have to the criminal justice system.
Use the LBS Bill Tracker! The page will be updated daily with information on how YOU can take action and support legislation that benefits OUR community !