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Living Questions: Inter-Faith Dialogues Seek A Vision of Justice in Baltimore

Photo courtesy ICJS

Today, another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere.  We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Following the riots and uprising in April of 2015, the ICJS embarked on a two-part project they called Imagining Justice in Baltimore.  The first part consisted of three lectures delivered earlier this year by Religious scholars from outside Baltimore.  Dr. Robert Franklin, from Emory University in Atlanta offered the Christian perspective.  Dr. Marc Gopin of George Mason University offered the Jewish perspective, and Dr. Najeeba Syeed of the Claremont School of Theology in California considered the notion of justice from the Muslim perspective.

The second part of the Imagining Justice in Baltimore initiative comprised a series of Community Conversations, led by local activists and community leaders.  There were four of these events, once a month, beginning in September.  The first was held at St. Bernadine’s Catholic Church on Edmonston Avenue, another at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, and another at Coppin State University. The final one took place just last Thursday, at Beth Am Synagogue in Reservoir Hill. 

The ICJS series of Community Conversations focused not only on justice and how it can be imagined for our city.  It also challenged people to think about how religion can inform our understanding of what happened, and how we should approach solutions to the multitude of underlying problems that plague Baltimore, and cities across the United States. 

On today's edition of Living Questions, Tom's guests are three of the community leaders who helped facilitate those Community Conversations:

Karim Amin is the president of the Muslim Social Services Agency, a nonprofit that provides resources and food to underserved residents of Baltimore City. He has served in AmeriCorps; he’s taught special education in Baltimore City Public Schools; he’s been a treatment counselor for youth with emotional disabilities and a Domestic Program Coordinator for Islamic Relief USA…

Tracie Guy-Decker is the Associate Director at the Jewish Museum in Baltimore.  She and her family belong to Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, and since the Uprising, she's been active in that congregation's social justice efforts.

And Terrell Williams is an Associate Organizer forBUILD: Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development.  He works with city residents, as well as political, corporate, and philanthropic leaders to address issues facing people in distressed communities.  Terrell taught for several years in the Baltimore City schools and in the Education Department at Johns Hopkins University where he supported educators in the Master’s program for Teach for America.

All three community leaders join Tom for the hour, and respond to listeners' calls, tweets and emails.

Each Monday here on Midday, we have also been taking a few moments to read the names of people who lost their lives to violence in Baltimore during the previous week.   We stand in witness to their untimely deaths, and we remember their families and friends in their hour of grief.  A researcher named Ellen Worthing has been compiling a list of Baltimore homicide victims for the past 15 years.  We are indebted to her for the data she posts on her blog, chams page.  We also consult the Baltimore Sun’s list of homicides, which they have been compiling since 2007. 

As of today (December 19th, 2016), 308 people have been the victims of homicide in our city.  Hundreds more have been victims of non-fatal shootings.

Nine people were the victims of homicide in Baltimore City last week.

They are: Gregory Riddick, age 26; Ricardo Grimes, age 37; Anthony McDuffie, age 42; Robert Prince, age 48; Deontay McKnight, age 21; an unidentified man, age 31; Malcolm Webb, age 22; James Herget, age 83, and Brandon Lee, age 27.

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Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Rob is a contributing producer for Midday.