10th Annual Baltimore County Farmers Market Every Wednesday From June To October

Baltimore County farmers and producers offer high quality fresh local produce, meats, flowers, plants, herbs, milk, ice cream, wine, beer, pet treats, and more at the 10th Annual Baltimore County Farmers Market at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. New additions this year, will include: Jones Organic Dairy & Produce Farm, Slate Farm Brewery, and The Genco Gang Food Truck with a variety of lunch items to enjoy while shopping.

The 10th annual Baltimore County Farmers Market will be held every Wednesday between June 5, 2019 and October 30, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Maryland State Fairgrounds Main Gate at 2200 York Road in Timonium with free parking.

“Our market is unique in that it is run mainly by Baltimore County farmers and producers with fresh, high-quality produce and more,” said Baltimore County Farmers Market Master Bill Langlotz. “A variety of fresh in-season fruit and vegetables starting with strawberries, asparagus, spinach, lettuce, spring onions, specialty mushrooms, and more will be available each week. Chicken, beef, pork, eggs, edamame, honey, wine, local beer, milk, ice cream, flowers and plants are just a few of the other featured local items.”

The Baltimore County Farmers Market at the Maryland State Fairgrounds is authorized to accept Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), WIC Fruit & Vegetable and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). For more information and a complete list of all participating farmers, visit: www.baltimorecountyfarmersmarket.com.

The Barber Shop Art Series And Interactive Conversations

Joshua Lee, mental health therapist, facilitator and performance life coach. Owner of UMOJA Integrative Behavioral Health Systems.

Joshua Lee, mental health therapist, facilitator and performance life coach. Owner of UMOJA Integrative Behavioral Health Systems.

After the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent civil unrest in Baltimore, resulting in rioting, arsons and vandalism in many parts of the city in the spring of 2015, ShopTalk: Share. Heal. Grow., a community-based project was ushered into service.

The project’s mission is to engage the African-American community led by African-American practitioners (including substance abuse professionals, clergy, community empowerment persons, etc.) in discussions that uplift, heal and inspire the community to provide support for each other and begin to solve it’s own problems and challenges, by sharing their own wisdom and knowledge in a safe, supportive environment in barbershops owned by African-Americans.

The African-American barbershop is a community institution, where people gather to have all types of conversations.

ShopTalk: Share. Heal. Grow. employs socio-drama and other action-based techniques to engage members of the community. In their book, Sociodrama: Who’s In Your Shoes?, Sternberg and Garcia state that “Sociodrama is a group action method in which participants act out agreed-upon social situations spontaneously. Sociodrama helps people to express their thoughts and feelings, solve problems, and clarify their values. Rather than simply discussing social issues, sociodrama gets people out of their chairs and exploring in action topics of interest to them.”

“Next Up, Barbershop Series”- Acrylic painting on wood. | Artist: Schroeder Cherry

“Next Up, Barbershop Series”- Acrylic painting on wood. | Artist: Schroeder Cherry

These facilitated conversations and exercises aim to interact with participants inside of barbershops in order to discuss a number of topics that impact the African-American community, including violence, politics, forgiveness, and drug and alcohol abuse. This format allows the community to experience each other differently and offers solutions to these issues. It’s important to use an action method such as socio-drama in barbershops because of its open environment and no agreement to confidentiality. Sociodrama forms a collective story on a topic that is relevant to the participants. This action structure opens creative outlets for full involvement and self-expression because it is not a 1-person story.

So, how does ShopTalk: Share. Heal. Grow. relate to the Barbershop Art Series by Schroeder Cherry being held at the Function Coworking Community (4709 Harford Rd., Baltimore, MD 21214) on June 9, 2019? I thought it was an excellent chance to engage the wider community, who would appreciate scenes from the barbershop, while at the same time, establish deep connections and have authentic conversations to talk about current events. Additionally, Schroeder Cherry is one of seven finalists for the 2019 Sondheim Artscape Prize. I jumped at the chance to collaborate with my friend of several years when I learned of this current work.

Schroeder Cherry

Schroeder Cherry

The intention is to have interactive, highly engaging, conversations with the community inspired by the artwork no matter what one’s background is. Further, Garcia and Sternberg state, “as they explore various issues, they put themselves in other people’s shoes in order to understand themselves and others better. One of the reasons sociodrama works so well is that it taps into the truth about humanity that we are each more alike than we are different. Sociodrama speaks to both sides of the brain, with its action/reflection components. It is a kinesthetic, intuitive, affective and cognitive educational technique. Sociodrama has as its goals: catharsis (expression of feelings), insight (new perception) and role training (behavioral practice).”

Within Schroeder Cherry’s brilliant artwork, there are so many story lines to build upon and play with. For example, when one sees a real combination lock or a set of keys included as part of the artwork, what comes to mind? Who knows? That is the point. We will explore, give voice to and share meaning about the many elements embedded in the artwork together as a community to find out.

The opening event will be curated by L. Nef’fahtiti Partlow-Myrick.

Open to the public. Free admission.

Could The Past Hold The Key To A Better Future For Urban Kids?

“Really, it’s a parenting question. Are the parents talking to their young people to let them know that downtown belongs to you too? The Inner Harbor belongs to you too, but you go there and act with common sense and decency and not go down there to disrupt and fight and create mayhem…”

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young’s vehement response to the violence and property destruction attributed to hundreds of marauding teens over the weekend at the Inner Harbor was directed squarely at their parents.

Mayor Young pulled no punches attributing the responsibility for the behavior of young people as a parental issue. The mayor’s estimate of the numbers of delinquent youth creating havoc downtown as one percent was still over-estimated.

With nearly 130,000 Baltimoreans under 18, the accused “troublemakers” actually only represent 0.3 percent of the city’s youth. Mayor Young’s assertion that most Baltimore youth are not the “criminals” insinuated by the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police is an obvious fact.

Too often, at the heart of the issue of unruly, undisciplined urban young people are contemporary cultural standards of child-rearing and discipline informed by technology, demands of parents’ employment, and other lifestyle factors that determine the amount and quality of time available for families to establish firm behavioral standards for children.

Of all the social, cultural and economic trends affecting the modern nuclear family in ways that degrade firm moral grounding for youth is perhaps the disconnect between the young and their elders which once existed as a communal bulwark inculcating successive generations with couth.

Grandparents and other older relatives possessed the patience, knowledge and wisdom that come from experience and long life that was once extolled as invaluable, and respected as a family’s brain trust. Their wise counsel was sought after and appreciated.

While it is more customary in western civilization to relegate older people to less revered status like the crazy uncle or senile grandma to be tolerated, Asian and African cultures, particularly, recognize elders as sacred, worthy of honor. A popular proverb from the Ivory Coast of Africa says: “The death of an elderly man is like burning a library.”

For African American children the tradition of elders playing a strong role in rearing was not only an ancestral tradition. Due to the disruption of families because of slavery the responsibility of raising and socializing youth naturally became the purview of the old.

A byproduct of being nurtured by elders not only provided African American children with being strongly rooted in their families with a clear sense of respect, children were indoctrinated on the survival tactics in a racist society and knew to comport themselves accordingly. Today’s youth may have a false sense of security.

Could the answer, in large part, be to readopt an ancient African standard of child rearing? Although not easy, the philosophy is simple: Parents should raise their children as aspiring parents. Parents must exercise the foresight that every interaction they have with their child is in preparation for their child to one day exercise those same practices to raise their own children.

Another profound African proverb, very appropriate here, reads: “A child is a parable of the life of a parent.” In contemporary parlance one might compare this saying to “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” In any event, in the African tradition, every value, ethic, lesson, instruction, discipline, punishment and insight a child is taught by parents are all for the sake of preparing him or her to raise their own children accordingly.

Baltimore’s Only Summer Camp Serving Homeless Children Entering 112th Season

Camp St. Vincent is the only free summer camp dedicated to serving children experiencing homelessness in the Baltimore region. Entering its 112th year, Camp St. Vincent continues to provide children experiencing homelessness with an unforgettable and transformational camp experience and addresses the negative impact of homelessness on children’s unique academic, social and emotional needs.

This year’s Camp St. Vincent will continue to be hosted in Patterson Park from June 24, 2019 – August 9, 2019, providing children experiencing homelessness with a curriculum that is focused on math, literacy, and social-emotional learning. Camp St. Vincent provides campers with an array of extracurricular activities, including dance, art, nature exploration, swim safety, weekly field trips, and daily recreation.

Camp St. Vincent’s unique curriculum is designed to mitigate summer learning loss. Last year 91 percent of campers maintained or advanced their reading level and 93 percent maintained or advanced their math skill level over the eight weeks. Camp St. Vincent also meets the unique social emotional needs of campers who gain acceptance from their peers and trained counselors that can assist in providing a sense of normalcy.

Through the loyal support of donors, St. Vincent de Paul provides a diverse and rich experience for children experiencing homelessness. Throughout the years, Camp St. Vincent has changed the lives of thousands of vulnerable children. St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore is committed to ensuring that children experiencing homelessness have access this vital opportunity.

Camp St. Vincent relies on annual support from individuals, church groups, corporations and private foundations that sponsor more than 250 children who attend each summer. To sponsor a homeless child and give a young person an opportunity to succeed, visit www.vincentbaltimore.org/camp.

In addition to financial support, donations of snacks, bathing suits and towels are still needed for this year’s program. For more information or to donate supplies or snacks to Camp St. Vincent, visit: www.vincentbaltimore.org/camp

Smithsonian Institution Selects African American Museum Director Lonnie Bunch As Secretary

In a historic selection, the Smithsonian has selected Lonnie Bunch, III as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Bunch will serve as the 14th Secretary.

Bunch, 66, is the Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He will now oversee 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers and several education centers as the Secretary of the Smithsonian.

While most people know Bunch as the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, it wasn’t his first job at the Smithsonian. He was an education specialist at The Air and Space Museum in the late 1970s and worked at the The Museum of American History’s office of curatorial affairs from 1989 to 2000.

Bunch is also the former director of the Chicago History Museum.

“I will work tirelessly to build upon the traditions of the Smithsonian to help America better understand the changing world it faces in the 21st century,” Bunch said at an announcement of his appointment on the morning of May 28th. Bunch’s successor is David Skorton. Bunch will begin his new job on June 16.

“The search committee unanimously felt that Lonnie was by far the best candidate of the many, many that we saw,” said David Rubenstein, the chair of the Smithsonian’s board.

“Mr. Bunch’s four decades of museum experience and his tremendous success in building the National Museum of African American History and Culture from the ground up make him the right person to lead our nation’s extraordinary federally-supported consortium of museums, research centers, and a zoo. The Smithsonian Institution’s diverse holdings and rich treasures reflect the greatness of America, and I can think of no one better to serve at its helm,” said House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn in a May 28 statement.

“Mr. Bunch has demonstrated his ability to build and steward collections, fundraise to support the preservation of these remarkable artifacts, and to tell the story of our country’s artistic and human experiences.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA as well as a political analyst and strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

Baltimore Times Q&A With Baltimore’s New City Council President, Brandon Scott

We arrived at Baltimore City Hall on Friday, May 24, 2019 in the morning for an in-person Q&A with new City Council President Brandon Scott. His sparsely furnished space, empty shelves, pictures not yet hung on the walls and half emptied boxes suggests Mr. Scott hit the ground working.

Baltimore Times: Good morning Mr. Scott first I’d like to congratulate you on behalf of the Baltimore Times for your ascension to city council president. What do you hope to achieve between now and the end of your 18-month term?

Brandon Scott: I am humbled and honored to serve, and very grateful for the unanimous support of my colleagues.

At the top of my list is this disease known as gun violence that is raising havoc on our neighborhoods. That will remain the focus for me. We can no longer expect the police to be the sole bearers of the responsibility in that mission.

I have a bigger platform to demand from the agencies and administrative leadership in Baltimore, a comprehensive gun violence reduction strategy.

I’m 35 years old and Baltimore City government has not changed the way it operates in the 35 years that I’ve been alive, and we are seeing the results of that.

Also, I think that when you look at the way Baltimore’s government operates we have to look at changing that and what you will see from us will be very, very…

Baltimore Times: Proactive?

Brandon Scott: No. Not just proactive, transparent. Transparency will be key for us. We will talk with citizens. We’ll be bold. We’ll be innovative. We will also be respectful of everyone’s opinion and train of thought. No one will be disrespected.

Everyone will have a seat at the table and we will work through those issues. We will have bold ideas to put in place. What I will not do— which predecessors before me did— is worry only about my term. We’re looking 10, 15, 20 years down the road.

Baltimore Times: The circuit and district courts of Baltimore City denied a request by City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby to dismiss thousands of marijuana charges. The principle reason Mosby wants the dismissals to free-up resources to target the homicide clearance rate.

Since Ms. Mosby took office in January 2015, these are the stats: 2015, 344 murders, 241 unsolved; 2016, 318 murders, 195 unsolved; 2017, 343 murders, 167 unsolved; 2018, 309 murders, 175 unsolved. Including 2019 numbers there could be at least 800 unapprehended murderers on Baltimore streets, years prior to 2015 notwithstanding. What’s your response?

Brandon Scott: The clearance rate is unacceptable, right, but I think that when you think about this, for me, is that I think about the totality of the system. First and foremost, to go back to your first point, listen, we… it’s time for Maryland to join states across the country in understanding and legalizing recreational marijuana.

We know that for Baltimore, and for Maryland, black and brown people bear the brunt of not just marijuana, but for all drug arrests, right. I will put it like this: in my neighborhood at the corner of Parkmont and— Powell and Belair Road, there’s a medical marijuana facility. But a young man can get arrested at that same corner for selling marijuana. I have been speaking about this ad nauseam. The new [police] commissioner is going to do a deep analysis, and he is going to come up with a plan for call reduction that focuses on the right priorities.

Baltimore Times: Research shows roughly 10,000 ex-offenders return to Baltimore streets annually with a recidivism rate of about 40 percent over 36 months. There appears a symbiotic relationship has developed between ex-offenders and urban street culture. The prison culture appears to have infiltrated the streets. What’s your response?

Brandon Scott: Listen, I talked about this a lot when I was running for lieutenant governor last year of the prison system. We have to rehabilitate.

That’s not what’s happening. We have to do that with a laser focus, right. So for example, we know that Sandtown-Winchester, per capita, has more ex-offenders than any neighborhood in the state, right?

If we know young men and young women, violent ex-offenders are coming home in three to four years to that neighborhood then we also know that we have organizations like Center for Urban Families there, that want to help them reacclimate— with their families, with their children— so they can be full members of the community.

Baltimore Times: I have one final question on incarceration and violence. Research shows that one of six Baltimoreans, are functionally illiterate— over 100,000 people. Of youth who go through the juvenile justice system, 85 percent are illiterate and 60 percent of prisoners overall in Maryland are illiterate. How do you deal with massive illiteracy and a high school graduation rate of nearly 50 percent?

Brandon Scott: What we can do from the council’s standpoint, understanding we have no direct power over the school system, we know from statistics that if someone’s child is reading at or above grade level at third grade then they won’t fall into the traps we’ve talked about. That’swhere the investment has to be.

We have to figure out a way to multiply so many efforts across the city. We have to have a literacy and reading program for our children, We have to invest more in programs like Youth Opportunity, the YO program, that I’m actually an alum of, getting them their GED’s, getting them into college, getting them to have the skills they need.

They’re not going to be popular. They’re not going to be pretty and shiny. There will be some failure in them but we know that we can’t continue to have ourselves do the same things., We have these needs that have to be met for people so we have to come up with creative ways to meet them.

Thank you, thank you so much.

Baltimore Times: Thank you as well, President Scott. We appreciate you making time for us.

How I Discovered Mental Peace While Running 26.2 Miles

Why run 26.2 miles? Why put yourself through the pain? Why spend a significant amount of time altering your daily schedule, sleeping habits and diet to accomplish this feat? Will you finish? What are you searching for?

These were just some of the thoughts in my mind while I was training for my first marathon in October 2018. As I researched, I began to see that this type of event is much more of a mental test rather than a physical one. In particular, the infamous “wall” is among the most difficult parts of the race that many runners hit around mile 18.

Hitting the “wall” refers to the point where the human body depletes all of its “stored glycogen and the feelings of fatigue and negativity, which typically accompany it.” Glycogen is a carbohydrate stored in our muscles and liver to give our bodies energy. When the body runs low on glycogen the “brain wants to shut down activity as a preservation method, which may lead to negative thinking,” causing the well-known “wall.” I realized this was a test of true mental fortitude.

As the Chief Creative Optimist at Positively Caviar, Inc. my team and I are constantly developing activities for our self-empowerment workshops with the goal of increasing mental resilience in our attendees. We have studied the importance of good habits, self-talk, self-confidence and self-love.

These qualities and more have a significant influence on how one is able to overcome adversity. I not only wanted to understand the knowledge but also utilize it and apply it in my own life.

Practicing what I speak about is very important to me to ensure that I am authentic and genuine. I believe authenticity can only be developed by true experience. I believed running 26.2 miles was the perfect experience that I needed to battle my own mind and put to test the research built into our own workshops.

It was finally race-day. It wasn’t until mile 20 that I had my first taste of the “wall.” My toenails sore, my knees and lower back were in agonizing pain and I still had five miles to go. I realized that for the past three months I was preparing my mind for this one moment— I was totally depleted. During that moment of pain and lack of energy, I remained keenly conscious of the conversations in my head. This moment stripped me down to my deepest fears, self-doubt and insecurities. With each step, my brain came back to one question: Why?” Why are you continuing to put one step after the other? Why are you putting yourself through this mental and physical suffering to finish this race?

During times of adversity and goal setting, I realized the mind always searches for the path of least resistance. During these moments, the mind will keep asking you one question— why? This is the same “why” that I heard during my race. It’s in moments like these that you must have an answer to this question and learn to suppress the voice in your head that tells you to stop or that you can’t do something. This is a voice that nearly all of us have heard before while trying to attain a goal, in times of suffering, working out in the gym, studying for a test, or even washing the dishes. You must have the will and a “why” to overpower and fight that voice in your mind that tells you to rest or that you can’t do something. The more you learn to shut down that voice, the better you become at overcoming obstacles in your life. Your mind is like a muscle and over time you will improve your mental threshold for tolerating pain and discomfort. This is mental fortitude and resilience.

During the race, I learned two things about life— it’s imperative to have a “why” and that mental and physical discomfort are inevitable while attaining a goal. You must have a strong enough “why” to leverage as strength and courage to endure any obstacle. This is the determining factor in giving up or succeeding in every facet of life. I had an answer for my “why” during that race. I answered the question, pressed forward towards my goal and finished my first marathon under my target time. It was the worst pain my body had ever endured but also one of the greatest, most peaceful moments of my life.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Pratt Partners With Hampden Family Center

— The Pratt Library’s Hampden branch will undergo major renovations starting on May 20, 2019. In order to provide library services to the community during the construction period, the Pratt has partnered with the Hampden Family Center. Pratt staff will provide weekly storytimes, a place for customers to browse collections and pick up books on hold, computer assistance, adult programming, and more.

“We’re so grateful to the Hampden Family Center for letting the Pratt share space so we can provide vital programming to the neighborhood,” said Pratt President/CEO Heidi Daniel. “This is a great example of strong community partnerships working to provide access to Baltimore residents.”

“It’s important to Hampden residents and our clients of all ages that there continues to be a library presence and services available in the neighborhood during the branch renovation,” said Lisa Ghinger, executive director of the Hampden Family Center. “We are happy to provide the space and look forward to this innovative partnership.”

The Pratt’s Hampden branch first opened in 1900. The renovation, will double the space of the branch by making the basement usable space that will include a meeting room, public bathrooms, and staff offices. In addition, a ramp system will be added to the exterior of the building to make it handicapped accessible. The renovation project is expected to take two years.

Tips To Help Prevent Lyme Disease During Tick Season

In its most recent report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that in 2017 there were 1,997 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Maryland, with an additional 697 probable cases. Left untreated, the disease can cause joint swelling and cardiac or neurologic complications.

With Lyme Disease Awareness Month in full swing, Ehrlich Pest Control officials say it’s important to note that with the mild spring Baltimore has experienced, there is a good chance of an extended tick season.

“When you have an early start to spring and warm weather, tick eggs will hatch sooner. The nymphs and adults will become active earlier, so you could have a prolonged tick season as a result,” said Chad Gore, who holds a Ph.D. in entomology and serves as the Market Technical Director with Ehrlich Pest Control.

“The longer the season, the more opportunities people have to be exposed to a tick that could be carrying bacteria that causes Lyme disease,” said Gore, who also volunteers as a technical advisor to the Pennsylvania Pest Management Association. “If you find a tick on you, remove it as soon as possible … it takes quite a long time for the Lyme bacteria to make it into the tick’s saliva and into your bloodstream so the sooner you can get the tick off of you, the better.”

Gore added that the most effective protective actions one can take against ticks are to wear an insect repellent containing DEET when spending time outdoors, even in your own yard. He says it’s important to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks when working in a yard, hiking, or in wooded areas.

“After being outside, do a head-to-toe check for ticks. Adults should also do this check on children,” Gore said. “Check your pets for ticks regularly, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors and speak to your veterinarian about proactive tick protection for your pet.”

Experts at Ehrlich recommend barrier treatments in yards, especially those in areas susceptible to tick activity. Barrier treatments include the application of a low-impact product to vegetation around the perimeter of a yard to kill ticks. These treatments should be repeated multiple times throughout the tick season to remain effective.

If someone encounters a tick, it’s also helpful to know how to remove it. For that, Gore suggested the following:

  • •Use tweezers and grab the tick as close as possible to where it is attached to the skin.
  • •Steadily pull upward and avoid twisting the tick. Twisting may cause the tick to break.
  • •Rather than flushing the tick right away, it is best to submerge the tick in rubbing alcohol and save it for a week or two in case you need to see a doctor or veterinarian.
  • •Save the tick in a plastic Ziploc bag or vial.

“If the thought of having the tick around really freaks you out, take a clear photo of the tick, being sure to capture a photo of both the back and underside of the tick,” Gore said. “This will help a doctor identify what type of tick bit you. Then, flush it to dispose of it safely.”

Prevent Long Hot Summer Of Violence In America

Across the nation and throughout the world, millions of people are still morning the tragic and senseless killing of our Brother Nipsey Hustle. We are again reminded of the terrible sickness of violence in communities across the United States.

We should not wait for another one of our hero’s to be killed before we stand up to take action to prevent this plague of violence from continuing. Nipsey was a great example of what can happen when a young man from our community puts his head down and transcends the traps that are laid by the enemies of our youth in America.

Let me be clear: All those who have the capacity and opportunity to do their part to end the senseless spiral of violence but do nothing by their omission are aligned with the forces that are against our communities’ safety, resilience and progress. Complacency with violence directly contributes to its devastating continuance.

There are, however, very successful programs in nearly every hot pocket in our inner cities that are alarmingly underfunded. Those effective antiviolence programs are in constant need of volunteers. I have personally witnessed and worked closely with so many extremely productive and amazing programs that in fact prevent violence.

Effective programs like Erica Ford’s “Life Camp” in Queens, New York or Captain Dennis Muhammed’s “Peace Keepers” efforts in over 20 cities are in need of additional funding and support from city, state and federal agencies.

Of course, in addition, the private sector and local community support systems must also be summoned to help out. Now is the time to act to prevent future violence.

These two programs are shining examples of how much better and effective local interventions are than the police who in many cases are disconnected, not trusted, brutal and too often fatal. But despite the results of current research studies on what works, city budgets in too many states are now being turned over to ineffective police containment strategies because of the undue influence of police unions and other conservative political forces. Violence cannot be contained. It has to be prevented by trusted and effective community-based programs.

Are we prepared to sit back this summer and watch more than 50 of our kids get shot and killed every weekend in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Detroit, Miami or in St. Louis? Because if we don’t act urgently now, that’s what is gonna happen!

Where is the national debate or priority about our children’s safety from violence? It appears that the hip-hop community is the only authentic and caring voice that is speaking out effectively and consistently on this important issue and “Taking back responsibility.”

Most religious and political figures won’t bring it up publicly or earnestly unless we do it first. I will do my part. Will you?

No matter how big or small your impact might be, everyone’s input and support is needed now. Even if you only will just write to your member of the U.S. Congress to urge more funding for community antiviolence programs, that will also be helpful.

The clock is ticking. The summer is coming. Are you prepared to lose a love one or a friend to violence in our communities? Or are you going to join me and others to help make a lasting difference? Thank you for your response. With great love, all things are possible.