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This week’s news includes: SHAN Wallace’s photo essay at The Cut, The Walters announces pay increases for employees, Microsoft invests $300,000 in Baltimore’s dirtbike STEM program B-360, rioting by pro-Trump supporters in DC, vaccination roll-out update, and more reporting from Maryland Matters, WYPR, The AFRO, and others.

 

 

A Quiet New Year’s Eve in Baltimore Photographer Shan Wallace takes a walk around her city.
by SHAN Wallace with text by
Published January 6 in The Cut

Excerpt: On New Year’s Eve, photographer Shan Wallace, 29, went out for a walk in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. The weather was gloomy and cold. “The streets were pretty dead,” she said. Her first stop was Lexington Market, where she gave a new friend, Mr. Leo, a copy of a portrait she’d taken of him a few weeks prior. Then she passed by Royal Farms Arena (“terrible name”), where she spotted a man named Mark selling glittery 2021 hats. She brought one — why not? — to “help ring in the New Year in style.”

Next, Wallace headed over to East Baltimore, where she came across a small, empty vigil. “It was clear that the city is still mourning and trying to push through to 2021,” she said of her journey. “We are grieving, but we’re still surviving.”

 

 

Walters Art Museum to remain closed until Feb. 3, will increase minimum pay for hourly workers
By Ed Gunts
Published January 5 in the Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Instead of reopening this month as previously planned, the Walters Art Museum will remain closed to the public until early February as a precaution against COVID-19. When it does reopen on February 3, the museum will increase pay to a minimum of $15 an hour for full-time hourly employees and a minimum of $13 an hour for all part-time positions.

“As we watch the COVID-19 numbers with concern, we have determined that it is in the best interest for everyone’s health and safety to extend our closure,” director Julia Marciari-Alexander said yesterday in a message addressed to the Walters community.

 

 

Microsoft invests $300K in B-360, Baltimore’s dirtbike STEM program
by Stephen Babcock
Published January 5 in Technical.ly Baltimore

Excerpt: A Baltimore org that harnesses dirtbike culture to introduce youth to STEM careers is among the recipients of funding from Microsoft.

B-360 Baltimore is receiving a $300,000 grant over three years, as well as access to leadership development opportunities and software services. Announced in December, it’s one of 50 awards to Black-led orgs across the country to receive funding from the iconic tech company as part of a $15 million initiative focused on job training and digital access. Microsoft committed the funding in June amid protests after Minneapolis’ George Floyd was killed by police.

Brittany Young, who is an engineer, founded B-360 in 2016 to spread STEM and safety programming in the community that’s centered on the workings of dirtbikes, which are a frequent sight on the streets of West Baltimore, where she grew up.

“This funding is a much-needed boost at the end of a year that has been challenging for a lot of organizations like ours, especially ones that have significant overhead with equipment and logistical costs,” Young said. “We’ll be using the funds to support our free programming by purchasing more technology equipment, helmets, dirt bike parts and safety gear. Funds will also be used to create more jobs for young adults that we hire and train as instructors.”

 

 

Inside the Capitol, the Sound of the Mob Came First
by Luke Broadwater and Emily Cochrane
Published January 6 in The New York Times

Excerpt: A ceremonial session of Congress to formally declare President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory devolved in an instant into a scene of violence and mayhem on Wednesday when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, halting the counting of electoral votes.

Journalists from The New York Times witnessed the events. Here is how the chaos unfolded.

 

 

Trump issued a call to arms. Then he urged his followers ‘to remember this day forever!’
by Anne Gearan and Josh Dawsey
Published January 6 in The Washington Post

Excerpt: Before the rally of thousands of President Trump’s supporters on Wednesday, some aides worried that if Trump spoke at the event not far from the Capitol, it could stoke the crowd and create a volatile scene, a senior administration official said. But Trump, the official said, was determined to do it.

“We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” Trump told the crowd to whoops and loud cheers, falsely claiming that President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was based on fraudulent vote counts. “We won this election, and we won it by a landslide. This was not a close election.”

He said Republicans had to keep fighting and urged a crowd of aggrieved supporters to mount an insurrection against constitutional order on Wednesday, encouraging what quickly became a mob assault on the U.S. Capitol carried out in his name. The fabrications were familiar, but this time, Trump’s angry rant amounted to a call to arms.

 

 

Some Dems, Including Anthony Brown, Urge Another Impeachment of Trump Following Insurrection at U.S. Capitol
by Daniel Newhauser
Published January 6 in Maryland Matters

Excerpt: Members of Congress and senators had not yet emerged from a Capitol lockdown caused by a mob of violent, rioting supporters of President Trump before key Democrats began calling for impeaching the president and consequences for politicians who egged on the violence.

Progressive members of the U.S. House, including congresswomen who are members of the expanding so-called Squad, were among the first to call for Congress to dole out swift punishment to Trump and other Republicans who have stoked the conditions that led to this moment.

U.S. Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D) became the first member of Maryland’s delegation to call for Trump’s impeachment, just before the House returned to work at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Around 2:30 p.m., U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted to let her supporters know she was safe, and that “Running for our lives as Members of Congress in the United States is really devastating and totally shocking.”

Additional: In contrast, Maryland Rep. Andy Harris plans to challenge Biden’s Electoral College victory, defends Trump call with Georgia from The Baltimore Sun (Vote Him Out PLZ!)

 

Mayor Scott, Gov. Hogan and others react to the horror on the Hill
by Susan Dunn
Published January 6 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and others reacted with disgust today as they watched Trump supporters disrupt Congressional proceedings in an unseemly act of insurrection. Protestors gathered at the Capitol to object to the certification of Electoral College votes, overwhelming police to enter the Capitol building at around 2:30 p.m.

Both leaders are working with public safety agencies to help D.C. get the situation under control.

“I have spoken to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to offer our support and will continue to stay in close contact. Baltimore stands ready to support our sister city,” said Scott in a statement.

“What we’re seeing on Capitol Hill today is an attack on our democracy,” said Mayor Scott in a statement. “Donald Trump’s policies, actions and inactions have terrorized Black and Brown people across this country over the last four years. He has consistently stoked his base to act in hate. This behavior is not surprising to me, nor should it be for anyone. But let us not be desensitized. This is what white supremacy looks like. Donald Trump, the Members of Congress who continue to undermine the election, and those who are participating in this terrorist attack should be treated accordingly.”

 

 

 

 

 

Dems win Senate control as Trump supporters stage insurrection in D.C.
by Jaisal Noor
Published January 6 in The Real News Network

Excerpt: Armed supporters of President Donald Trump occupied the Capitol building and successfully halted the counting of Electoral College votes to affirm Joe Biden’s victory, even as the Democrats won control of the Senate.

On Wednesday afternoon, after Trump told supporters gathered near the White House he “will never concede,” hundreds of people from the crowd breached barricades outside the Capitol, forcing the House and Senate into recess as the insurrectionists gathered outside the chambers and even battled with police.

At least one person was reportedly shot, and an improvised explosive device was reportedly found inside the Capitol.

Biden, who defeated the Republican president in the Nov. 3 general election and is due to take office on Jan. 20, said the activity of the protesters “borders on sedition.”

 

 

Mass Delusion in America
by Jeffrey Goldberg
Published January 6 in The Atlantic

Excerpt: Insurrection Day, 12:40 p.m.: A group of about 80 lumpen Trumpists were gathered outside the Commerce Department, near the White House. They organized themselves in a large circle, and stared at a boombox rigged to a megaphone. Their leader and, for some, savior—a number of them would profess to me their belief that the 45th president is an agent of God and his son, Jesus Christ—was rehearsing his pitiful list of grievances, and also fomenting a rebellion against, among others, the klatch of treacherous Republicans who had aligned themselves with the Constitution and against him.

“A year from now we’re gonna start working on Congress,” Trump said through the boombox. “We gotta get rid of the weak congresspeople, the ones that aren’t any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world. We gotta get rid of them.”

“Fuck Liz Cheney!” a man next to me yelled. He was bearded, and dressed in camouflage and Kevlar. His companion was dressed similarly, a valhalla: admit one patch sewn to his vest. Next to him was a woman wearing a full-body cat costume. “Fuck Liz Cheney!” she echoed. Catwoman, who would not tell me her name, carried a sign that read take off your mask smell the bullshit. Affixed to a corner of the sign was the letter Q.

 

 

Civil Rights leaders call for Trump’s removal under the 25th Amendment
by AFRO Staff
Published January 6 in The AFRO

Excerpt: In light of the shocking violence at the U.S. Capitol instigated by President Trump, National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial and National Action Network President Rev. Al Sharpton called upon Vice President Pence and Cabinet officers to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove the President from office immediately.

“For the first time in U.S. history, a violent mob is attempting to overthrow the democratically-elected federal government, with the encouragement of the man who lost the election,” Morial said. “The nation cannot endure another two weeks of his illegal and unhinged efforts to maintain power. If there is a shred of rationality or patriotism left in the Executive Branch, its officers must act in the best interest of the nation and exercise their constitutional duty to remove him.”

Rev. Sharpton added, “There could be no greater proof than the horrifying chaos we are witnessing that President Trump is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. He has constructed an alternate reality of conspiracy theories and wishful thinking, and has deployed a lawless mob to enforce it for him.”

 

 

“Overly simplistic.” Two members of the Commission to Restore Trust in Policing respond to a Brew op-ed
by Sean R. Malone and Gary W. McIlhinney

Excerpt: As members of the Maryland Commission to Restore Trust in Policing, we read with interest David A. Plymyer’s December 21 opinion piece (“Rooting out bad cops“) evaluating the commission’s report.

In castigating the commission for “wimping out,” Plymyer unfortunately fails to accurately depict the breadth of the report’s four distinct sets of recommendations for achieving structural change in Maryland’s police agencies.

His overly simplistic solution of providing minimal due process for police officers by investing more power in police chiefs to discipline officers myopically ignores the very complex institutional problems of the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) and its counterparts across Maryland.

As public discussion on police reform continues, policymakers should, on the contrary, focus greater scrutiny on the decisions, actions and inactions of police executives.

Systematic improvement at the command level, coupled with increased public accountability, will most effectively address police misconduct.

 

 

Hogan Announces Efforts To Speed Up Vaccine Rollout
by Rachel Baye
Published January 5 in WYPR

Excerpt: Gov. Larry Hogan announced new steps Tuesday designed to speed up the state’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The latest state data show that just under 77,000 Marylanders have received the vaccine, correlating with about 28% of the doses Hogan said have been distributed to health care providers.

“Bad news is it’s not going as fast as anyone wants,” Hogan said. “I’m not gonna be happy until we’re done.”

To explain the delays, Hogan laid out the vaccine distribution process during Tuesday’s press conference.

 

 

Header image: Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

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