6 episodes

Thinking Freely is a monthly political podcast, from the ACLU of Maryland, informing people about what's happening politically in Maryland from the courts to the streets. You'll hear from ACLU staff, our clients, and community leaders about the issues facing our civil liberties and how you can get involved.

Thinking Freely ACLU of Maryland

    • News

Thinking Freely is a monthly political podcast, from the ACLU of Maryland, informing people about what's happening politically in Maryland from the courts to the streets. You'll hear from ACLU staff, our clients, and community leaders about the issues facing our civil liberties and how you can get involved.

    Maryland 2020 - Power to the People in the General Assembly

    Maryland 2020 - Power to the People in the General Assembly

    Another Maryland Legislative session is upon us, with the General Assembly set to start on January 8, 2020. This session, the ACLU of Maryland will be working on six priority areas: 1) Race and wealth equity for Maryland’s school children, 2) the Trust Act to defend the rights of immigrants in our communities, 3) equality in support services for women exiting the criminal legal system, 4) transparency in policing, 5) the right to vote for Marylanders behind bars, and 6) due process for children entangled in the criminal so-called “justice” system. Toni Holness, our public policy Director, Joe Spielberger, our Public Policy Council, and Justin Nalley, our Education Policy Analyst join Thinking Freely this month to talk about our work and how you can get involved.

    • 31 min
    The Time is Now to Center Race & Wealth Equity in Maryland Education

    The Time is Now to Center Race & Wealth Equity in Maryland Education

    Maryland students have a right to a high-quality public education guaranteed by the state constitution. But for far too many students, that right is undermined by generations of underfunding. This has most deeply impacted students from families with low income and Black and Brown children. Janna Parker, a former educator and a public education advocate, and Kimberly Humphrey, Esq., Legislative Counsel for the ACLU of Maryland, talk about how you can help to address racial and wealth inequities in the Kirwan Commission, the group developing Maryland’s new statewide education funding formula.

    This podcast was recorded on Piscataway land.

    • 39 min
    Racism, Algorithms and the Fight for Redemption

    Racism, Algorithms and the Fight for Redemption

    For years, people sentenced as children to life in prison with the possibility of parole, and their families, have tried to get Maryland to live up to the promise of second chances that a parole-eligible sentence is intended to provide. However, many barriers exist that stop this from happening. Many criminal justice stakeholders have turned to technology to help make parole decisions through “risk assessment tools.” Also labeled artificial intelligence, these tools have been touted as carrying with them the potential to save a broken system. However, these tools may exacerbate the same problems they are supposed to help solve. They rely on flawed criminal justice data that is not controlled for the institutional vestiges of slavery, de jure and de facto segregation, racial discrimination, and biased policing. In this episode we talk to Earl Young, who was sentenced to life as a young man; James Foulds, Assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at UMBC; and Sonia Kumar, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Maryland. What are the barriers to people getting a real opportunity to earn a second chance? What can you do to support meaningful reforms to parole systems, like the deeply flawed system in Maryland?

    • 37 min
    Taking Back Our Voting Rights from Jim Crow

    Taking Back Our Voting Rights from Jim Crow

    Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest. But the right to vote and participate in our democracy is currently denied to thousands of people in Maryland, those who who are incarcerated. Dating back to the racist Jim Crow era state felony disfranchisement laws were created to prevent Americans with felonies from voting. After the Civil War, there was a concerted effort to incarcerate thousands of newly freed slaves and these laws weakened the political power of Black people. Although the laws have changed so that people who are formerly incarcerated and are not currently serving a felony conviction can register and vote in elections, there is still confusion about these laws, which has also resulted in countless other Marylanders from voting.  

    In this episode listen to Lupé Hawkins of Just Us and Yanet Amanuel, Public Policy Advocate of the ACLU of Maryland, discuss some of the threats to our voting rights, explain why we need to improve ballot access for people behind bars, and talk about what you can do to get involved in turning the idea of universal suffrage into reality.

    This podcast was recorded on Piscataway land.

    • 21 min
    Let Baltimore Speak: The Fight Against Gag Orders

    Let Baltimore Speak: The Fight Against Gag Orders

    The First Amendment was meant to serve as the backbone of our democracy, allowing people who are critical of the government the right to speak. Historically, white supremacists have co-opted the First Amendment to advance hate and incite violence. At the same time, we have seen People of Color’s First Amendment rights violated when they speak out against oppression and racism. The First Amendment is a vital tool that can be used to advance racial justice. That’s why survivors of police brutality and community members in Baltimore are fighting for the right to speak up against police abuse. However, the Baltimore City government requires survivors to sign “gag orders” that are meant to silence survivors of police abuse in order to resolve their cases.  
     
    In this episode listen to Tawanda Jones, Activist, and Leader of “West Wednesdays Coalition” and Deborah Jeon, Legal Director of ACLU of Maryland, discuss the impacts of silencing survivors of police abuse. We will also speak about the effort to re-imagine a First Amendment where everyone’s speech is protected.
     
    This podcast was recorded on Piscataway land.

    • 28 min
    RISE UP : How Black and Brown immigrants are gaining power in Frederick

    RISE UP : How Black and Brown immigrants are gaining power in Frederick

    Our immigrant communities need to be supported. Instead, their lives and rights have increasingly been attacked, especially under the Trump Administration. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has prioritized building more 287(g) partnerships, where local law enforcement officers are deputized as federal immigration agents. Local police only have to go through a month of training to be fully participating officers and there’s little accountability for rights violations. Across the country, a growing number of counties are participating in this program, including 3 in Maryland. These dangerous programs undermine public safety by causing many immigrants to fear law enforcement.  In this episode, we hear from Flor Garay of the RISE Coalition of Western Maryland and Sergio España of the ACLU of Maryland to talk about how the 287(g) program has impacted Maryland residents – and what we can do about it.


    NOTE: The phrase “America is a country of immigrants” is often a well-intended phrase that has often unintended biases. The phrase ignores two major parts of American history. First, it ignores that this nation was created on land violently stolen from Native Americans/Indigenous people. These peoples were here first and we need to as a nation better understand that history. Second, it ignores that millions of Black people are descended from people who were stolen from Africa and sold into slavery. They are not immigrants. Words matter and understanding the history of these phrases help us create a more perfect union.

    This podcast was recorded on Piscataway land.

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

Nikki_M_M ,

Maryland needed this podcast!

Finding podcasts that cover local issues is tough. This one is exactly what I was looking for. The description says it will cover a wide range of topics, including important court cases and actions. I love how the first episode is about the awesome organizing happening by Black and Brown people in a county fighting ICE and police practices. 🙌❤️

5stat ,

Informative and timely!! Well done.

Great episode looking forward to listening in the future!

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