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In the Media: HBCU Rally Planned in Annapolis; New Program for Baltimore's Homeless

Maryland State House in Annapolis.
Amaury Laporte
Maryland State House in Annapolis.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From the AFRO American: Annapolis Md. HBCU Rally Planned to Protest State’s Insulting Proposal to Resolving Inequalities

"Faculty representatives from the four Maryland HBCUs – Morgan State University, Coppin State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Bowie State University – are planning a rally on March 2 at 4 p.m. in Annapolis to draw attention to the ongoing lawsuit over inequality at HBCUs. 

"The group, which will include busloads of students and alumni from the four schools, is also planning on meeting with Del. Barbara A. Robinson, D-Baltimore, chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland. 

"In 2013, Judge Catherine C. Blake ruled that Maryland’s traditional White institutions had been duplicating programs at the HBCUs, which had the effect of segregating the HBCUs as well as decreasing their enrollment. 

"The lawsuit was brought by the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education – which comprises alumni of Maryland HBCUs – against the state’s higher education body, the Maryland Higher Education Commission. 

"Following Blake’s ruling, she asked both parties to offer ways of fixing the inequality. Last May the Coalition submitted their proposals. Among their suggestions: merging the University of Baltimore into Morgan State and moving programs from traditional White institutions to HBCUs. 

"Last November, the state finally responded. In addition to opposing the merger between Morgan and the University of Baltimore, the state offered $10 million over six years to help HBCUs and TWIs to collaborate and suggested establishing summer programs at HBCUs where recently graduated high school seniors could earn college credit while learning more about HBCUs. 

"In early February, Blake rejected the Coalition’s proposed merger of Morgan State and the University of Baltimore and also said that the state’s $10 million proposal was inadequate. Both sides are now in the process of submitting new expert testimony to bolster their cases." 

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From the Baltimore Sun: Teen Charged With Riot at Downtown Protest Gets 6 Months, Community Service

"A teen who smashed a traffic cone through the windshield of a car during April's unrest following the death of Freddie Gray pleaded guilty Monday, agreeing to a deal that includes six months in jail and hundreds of hours of community service, prosecutors confirmed.

"The plea deal for Allen Bullock, 19, was offered by Circuit Judge Charles Peters and calls for a 12-year prison sentence, with all but six months suspended. He will be placed on five years' probation after serving that term, during which time he has agreed to complete 400 hours of community service and earn a high school equivalency certificate, or GED.

"Prosecutors had sought more than nine years in prison for Bullock.

"'They wanted to make an example out of him,' said Bullock's attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon. 'They started out with the $500,000 bail, then continued on to these types of plea offers that were really unacceptable. They force you to go to trial, and trial may not be the best place to resolve this matter.'

"Bullock was charged with rioting, destruction of property, disorderly conduct and other counts in connection with the April 25 downtown protest that turned destructive."

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From City Paper: A New Program for the City’s Homeless Leaves them Struggling Amid a Chaotic System of Care

"Christina Flowers holds forth from behind her cluttered desk on the second floor of 2526 N. Charles St. It's an early-December afternoon and, after a half hour of questions and answers, she's boiled down her mission, her business model, and her philosophy for housing Baltimore's homeless. 'It's about making decisions,' she says, 'based on What Would Jesus Do?'

"What Jesus would do, according to Flowers' gospel, is act as a middleman between landlords and the homeless. He would rent houses, sublease them to groups of homeless people, and manage the homeless people's money (federal and state benefits) for them, collecting their entitlements, paying the rent, buying food and affording the members of his flock a little allowance from what's left over.

"'I've got people with no money, they came today. I can put them in these two beds I have empty, and they have to start paying January 1,' Flowers says. She runs through a list. It takes some careful parsing but eventually the scaffolding behind her homeless venture becomes clear. Flowers operates one building with 12 apartment units, another with four apartment units, plus three houses which each have three bedrooms and a finished basement. In these homes—or other constantly evolving constellations—Flowers says she has housed more than 400 homeless people and families over the past three years.

"It's a business model that could revolutionize the care of homeless people, she says, particularly those who are not ready to live on their own, but have not been ruled legally incompetent. It's also labor-intensive, risky, and filled with the chaos of homeless people's daily lives."

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