Maryland Registration Justice Initiative concluded Phase II of its four phase initiative September 20, 2008.
At Large Member
Morgan State University
Dept. of Social Work
In partnership with Dr. Anna McPhatter, the chair of the
Department of Social Work, generous support from the Justice Policy Institute,
and CASE, we were able to provide the participants with a continental breakfast and box lunches. The conference started at
8:30 am with registration. of family members, friends, supporters, and the general public by giving them information on how
to establish our data base. Those who were not registered to vote were signed up to do so by Ms. Amelie Hamilton. Ms. Polly
Riddims, Fusion Partnerships, Inc. supervised the Youth Ambassadors from Safe and Sound, and the Street Soldiers from Clifton Park Senior
high school with registration and, Pastor Willie Mae Hill did the Invocation, next was a song
by Sister Bibifatimah. (Rabiah Pahya) Dr. Anna McPhatter, Chair of the Social
Work Dept. at MSU welcomed the guest, Ms. Riddims, the Director of Fusion introduced the guest, Walter Lomax, the Director
of the Project, gave opening remarks, followed by Ms. Kimberly Haven, the Executive Chair gave her report, Ms. Connie Smith,
the Legislative Chair gave her report, and Ms. Angie Callahan, the Judicial Chair gave her report. The Honorable Chief Judge
Bell, Md. Court of Appeals, was unable to attend, but sent a representative, the Honorable Judge Arrie Davis from the Special
Court of Appeals, who delivered an excellent speech on the courts position. Ms. Sheila Bedi, Esq, Executive Director of the
Justice Policy Institute, who contributed to the conference gave a report on the work her organization is doing toward our
initiative. Ms. Jennifer Smith, the Director of Outside Connection, spoke on the work her organization is doing. Ms. Sherrie
Booth the Director of Maryland CURE gave us a report on here organization, and Ms. Mary Pat Donelan spoke on I-WISH a lifers
group at MCI-W. We were next introduced to our Key Note Speaker, former Delegate Clarence ‘Tiger’ Davis. Del.
Davis spoke on the history of this struggle, and gave his commitment to see it through.
McFadden, who has agreed to introduce legislation, arrived late because of previous commitments, visited the workshops offering
his support. During the workshops, family members, friends, supporters, and the general public were informed on how to vote
for their incarcerated loved ones. They were provided with information on the legislation we are having introduced (a three
judge panel-after an individual has served 20 years, received a favorable recommendation from the parole board, and a favorable
evaluation from the Patuxent Institute, a three judge panel would review their sentence for release rather then by the governor)
and the importance of registering into the data base to form a bloc vote.
75-80 people attended the conference throughout the day, not as many family members and friends as we had hope, but we were
effective in getting our message out, and from the responses it will be carried long and far. Twelve volunteers signed up
to assist us with the data base, filing, and answering letters offering their full and continued support. We concluded the
program with a panel discussion, closing remarks, another song by Sister Bibifatimah (Rabiah Pahya), and a closing prayer
by Sister Willie Mae Hill.
As we move
into Phase III, our legislative initiative, we are confident that if we stay the course the strength of our efforts will determine
the measure of our results.
Walter Lomax, Director
Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative