A CALL TO ACTION
After Freddie Gray’s death, Hutchins, at the dean’s request, convened a group of faculty to formulate a response on behalf of the law school. The group devised a plan with two components—community engagement and education—both of which are gradually taking shape. The community engagement piece includes considerable involvement by the law school’s clinics, many already deeply engaged with Baltimore’s poor neighborhoods.
Plans include programs for residents at the University’s Community Engagement Center, near the law school in the Poppleton neighborhood. JustAdvice®, a law school project, in cooperation with six other legal service providers, will offer advice on a range of legal questions during its three-hour sessions at the center. In the law school’s low-income taxpayer clinic, Tobin, a former tax attorney, will work with Professor Beverly Winstead ’08, the clinic’s director. They hope to meet with residents during the semester to help them take advantage of provisions like the Earned Income Tax Credit, says Ashley Valis, executive director of the University’s Office of Community Engagement, which runs the center. The clinic also will host a Community Outreach Day at the center to help low-income taxpayers determine if they qualify for Maryland state tax amnesty. In addition, the community development law clinic will offer presentations on the rights of public housing tenants in their dealings with management companies, and students in the re-entry clinic will lead workshops on expunging criminal records as a way to improve employment prospects.
The law school plans to collaborate with Community Law in Action, Inc. (CLIA), a nonprofit founded by Terry Hickey ’98, that works with students in four city high schools who are thinking of careers in law. It is envisioned that CLIA students will spend one day a month at the law school, where, according to CLIA Executive Director Corryne Deliberto, they will be mentored by law students and professors and possibly attend a class. In addition, law students and professors will serve as coaches and judges for CLIA’s twice-yearly mock trial competitions. Finally, the mediation clinic plans to work with police and high school students. The mediation work, predicts Hutchins, will help “two communities with a long history of frustration, disappointment, and, in some cases, anger talk to each other in a way that will allow the police to view young people as other than suspects, and will allow students to appreciate the very real dangers police officers face daily, and the ways those stresses can impact their interactions with the community.” Says Deliberto: “The new collaborations are rejuvenating our relations with the law school and strengthening the efforts of both organizations in the community.”
A possible collaboration with the mayor’s office and other organizations in the city would further expand the law school’s work on expungement of criminal records. “They know what we’re doing” in this area, says Tobin, “and they’re interested in it because it is helpful in expanding economic opportunity.”
Frederick Curtis II '15 speaks to law students, faculty, and staff before marching to Baltimore City Hall on April 24, 2015
Freddie Gray's Baltimore
Past, Present and moving Forward
Fall Semester 2015
Response to the announcement of “Freddie Gray’s Baltimore” was strong and swift. More than 85 students—including 15 from the School of Social Work—registered for the eight-session course. Local and national media took note, too, with The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, National Public Radio and Business Insider all running stories, along with The Baltimore Sun, WMAR-TV, WBAL and other Baltimore television
and radio stations.
Session 1: The Details of the Unrest Itself; Policing and the Community - Professor Michael Greenberger
Session 2: Housing Segregation: Causes and Implications - Professor Sherrilyn Ifill
Session 3: Housing: Public and Private Perpetuation of Residential Racial Segregation and Concentrated Poverty - Professor Barbara Bezdek
Session 4: Race and Policing (including racial profiling; stop and frisk; mass incarceration; and the criminalization of poverty) - Professor Renée Hutchins
Session 5: Education and the School-to-Prison Pipeline - Professors Susan Leviton, Deborah Eisenberg, and Toby Guerin, managing director, Center for Dispute Resolution; Guest: Kate Rabb, education policy director, Advocates for Children and Youth
Session 6: Cycles of Violence (including domestic violence and abuse of children) - Professor Leigh Goodmark; Guest: Professor Tanya Sharpe, University of Maryland School of Social Work
Session 7: Employment and Economic Development - Professors Barbara Bezdek and Michael Pinard; Guest: Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)
Session 8: Public Health and Access to Health Care, including addiction and substance abuse; mental health; HIV/AIDS; lead paint; and obstacles to good health care - Professors Diane Hoffmann and Deborah Weimer; Guest: Dr. Leana S. Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
FRANCIS KING CAREY SCHOOL OF LAW 500 W. Baltimore St. Baltimore, MD 21201