By: Reynaldo Leanos Jr. and Chelsea Seifert
The No Boundaries Coalition, The Greater Baltimore Leadership Coalition and other local organizations hosted the first of many upcoming public forums on Saturday May 16 to give community members an opportunity to talk about their experiences involving police misconduct.
One of the main goals of the forum was to collect video testimony and use it as evidence to push for the community’s civilian review board legislation.
Ray Kelly, president of the No Boundaries Coalition said the forum helped bring hope to the community.
“I just think when you have actual residents give testimonies about the way things are it empowers other residents and makes them feel like their voice is going to be heard,” said Kelly after the event.
Participation in the event was better than expected and set the tone for upcoming forums to let the community know they are not meant to be intrusive, or overbearing, said Kelly.
“We had about 20 residents, but only 10 people testified, which was excellent,” said Kelly. “It was just a chance to stand there in front of other residents in your community and say how you feel and no one judged anyone.”
Lisa Mills, resident of the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood in Baltimore, participated in the video testimony portion of the forum and said solidarity is needed to bridge the gap between the community and police.
“The public and the police departments somehow or another have to come together,” Mills said after the event. “That’s the reason I told my story today. We have to bridge that gap.”
Mills said the relationship between the two groups mutually rely on the respect of each other due to residents needing the police and vice versa.
Mills said communication is key for people to stop being afraid of the police and begin to rely on the services they provide.
The next town hall meeting will take place May 30 at 1 p.m.. The city council president, councilmen in the Western district, the mayor’s office on criminal justice and the mayor’s office of civil rights will be in attendance.
For more information about upcoming events, contact the No Boundaries Coalition.