Progress

This page will be used to share update statements from the working group after meeting and group events.

Quaker Voice of Maryland | Zoom meeting | January 17, 2021


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland organizing group met to discuss the following agenda items:- Finalize bills for 2021 legislation priorities- Make plan for start of 2021 General Assembly (Jan. 13th, 2021)
The topic legislative topics submitted by Friends include the following:
  • Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement Reform
  • Climate Justice
  • Expanding Access to Healthcare
  • Gun Violence Prevention & Peace Building

We decided to support the following legislative priorities during 2021:
  • Blueprint for Maryland's Future (cont. support from 2020)
  • Requiring Transitional Processes from Solitary Confinement (cont. support from 2020, but being revised for 2021)
  • Rewarding Correctional Educational Milestones (cont. support from 2020)
  • Climate Solutions Now Bill (first act of support will be to sign the Resolution)
  • Maryland Health Equity Resource Communities
  • Maryland Correctional Omnibuds Act of 2021
  • 2021 Police Reform Demands - Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability

With this list we are now prepared to start advocacy work for the General Assembly, which starts on the 13th of this month. We have also finalize a newsletter to send out to all Quaker Voice of Maryland contacts prior to the start of the General Assembly in January.
Next meeting will be held in two weeks; date/time TBD.

Quaker Voice of Maryland | Zoom meeting | December 16, 2020


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland organizing group met to discuss the following agenda items:- Finalize bills for 2021 legislation priorities- Make plan for start of 2021 General Assembly (Jan. 13th, 2021)
The topic legislative topics submitted by Friends include the following:
  • Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement Reform
  • Climate Justice
  • Expanding Access to Healthcare
  • Gun Violence Prevention & Peace Building

Members are considering the following as part of the 2021 legislation priorities:
  • Blueprint for Maryland's Future (cont. support from 2020)
  • Requiring Transitional Processes from Solitary Confinement (cont. support from 2020)
  • Restrictive Housing Reform Act (cont. support from 2020)
  • Rewarding Correctional Educational Milestones (cont. support from 2020)
  • Climate Solutions Now Bill
  • Maryland Health Equity Resource Communities
  • Maryland Correctional Omnibuds Act of 2021
  • Public Service Commission Climate Test Bill
  • Climate Crisis & Education Act
  • Environmental Rights - Constitutional Amendment
  • 2021 Police Reform Demands - Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability

After discussion of all the considered legislative priorities the group decided they would also prepare a newsletter to send out to all Quaker Voice of Maryland contacts prior to the start of the General Assembly in January.
Next meeting will be held January 7th, 2021 @ 7:00PM.

Quaker Voice of Maryland | Email Update to Contacts | November 23, 2020


We wanted to update F/friends on our progress preparing for the 2021 General Assembly and how you can be part of our work.Based off the guidance of Friends from across Maryland who submitted their input as individuals, committees, and Monthly Meetings we will be focusing our efforts on legislation that speaks to the following:
  • Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement Reform
  • Climate Justice
  • Expanding Access to Healthcare
  • Gun Violence Prevention and Peace Building

At our recent retreat meeting we discussed a number of pieces of legislation and efforts that we feel speak to these topics.
Request from you: The working group is currently researching legislation and will be finalizing our priority list on December 16th. Share your knowledge with us if you are familiar with a piece of legislation that speaks to these topics that you think Friends could bring a voice to during the 2021 General Assembly.
Stay tuned: Once we have finalized our priority list we'll be sharing out resources to all our contacts along with our advocacy action plan for the General Assembly. In the meantime, check in on the Advocacy & Action Bulletin Board and feel free to email the Quaker Voice working group if you have an event, resource, or action you’d like to have posted that connects to Quaker advocacy work in MD.

Quaker Voice of Maryland | Virtual Retreat | November 15, 2020


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland organizing group met to discuss the following agenda items:- Review survey results and discuss potential bills in each priority area- How do we communicate priorities and mobilize Quakers (Individuals, Meetings, Committees)- How to coordinate our efforts with other groups- Lobby Day
The topic legislative topics submitted by Friends include the following:
  • Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement Reform
  • Climate Justice
  • Expanding Access to Healthcare
  • Gun Violence Prevention & Peace Building

Members discussed policies that will be part of the 2021 General Assembly and would speak to these topics. We will be seeking additional input from Friends through research and outreach pertaining to Law Enforcement Reform and Expanding Access to Healthcare before finalizing our policy focus list.
Next meeting will be held December 16th, 2020 @ 7:00PM.

Quaker Voice of Maryland | Phone Meeting | July 28, 2020


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland organizing group met to discuss the following agenda items:- Health Equity Communities support- Annual report to BYM- Founding documents drafting for Quaker Voice- Finalizing 2021 input survey topics- Review list of working group members connected to Meetings for outreach
Friends reviewed drafted Founding Documents and hope to have a finalized version to share outside of the Working Group in the near future.
Members finalized topics for the input survey that will be used as part of outreach to Meetings / Friends. Input will be gathered during August / September and will be reviewed by the Working Group in October.
Next meeting will be held September 1st, 2020 @ 7:15PM.

Quaker Voice of Maryland | Phone Meeting | June 30, 2020


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland organizing group met to discuss the following agenda items:- Virtual event debrief- Next steps: Annual session- Next steps: Getting feedback on 2021 priorities- Governance structure
Friends discussed creating a founding document to help strengthen the groups work. It was agreed that a founding document would be helpful.
Members also discussed preparing for the 2021 session and the possibility of a special session of the General Assembly coming up prior to 2021 session.

Year One: Who We Are, What We've Done, and How You Can Get Involved | Virtual Event | June 16, 2020


Quaker Voice of Maryland hosted a virtual event on June 16th to update the Maryland Quaker community about our work during the past year.
There were over 25 Friends in attendance representing Quaker groups from across the state as well as Washington state.
The presentation slides are available on our Resources page and the presentation was recorded to be shared with the attendees and on our website - stay tuned!

Quaker Voice of Maryland | Phone Meeting | May 7, 2020


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland organizing group met to discuss the following agenda items:- Governor vetoes and how they affected our priority legislation.- Outreach to Meetings and how that is progressing.- Website updates.- Preparing newsletter for distribution.- Hosting a Zoom event on June 16th.
Friends discussed the veto of the Blueprint for Maryland's Future bill, also referred to as the Kirwan Commission bill. Strong Schools Maryland website has an action alert that we can share on our website.
We agreed to host a Zoom event on June 16th to share information about Quaker Voice, our work during the 2020 General Assembly, and how Friends can be involved. We will begin promoting this event starting May 17th.

Quaker Voice of Maryland | Phone Meeting | April 14, 2020


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland organizing group met to discuss the following agenda items:- End-of-session newsletter- Maryland Meeting outreach- Conducting Zoom calls with Monthly Meetings- Action items related to COVID-19
We plan to send out a newsletter to all Quaker Voice contacts that includes information on our priority issues from the 2020 General Assembly.
We agreed to reach out to our Meeting contacts about the possibility of meeting remotely with Friends to share information about Quaker Voice, keep Friends aware of our work, and get feedback on priorities.

Lobbying with F/friends | Strong Schools Maryland | March 10, 2020


Quaker Voice connected with Strong Schools Maryland campaign organizer Linsey Mayhew for a morning of lobbying this past Tuesday in support of Blueprint for Maryland's Future, one of our legislative priorities this session.
Actions included visiting all the offices for Senators and Delegates to distribute the playing-card-of-the-day -- part of the campaigns strategy to get out information about the benefits of Blueprint for Maryland's Future in a fun-but-educational way. They even host trivia to quiz the offices on their Blueprint knowledge and award prizes for the offices that get the most points!
In between distributing cards and encouragement to Senators office staff to vote in favor of policies and funding for the Blueprint (most representatives were already in meetings for the day) advocates took a break to greet Senators as they broke out of meetings and headed to a hearing in the Capital building.
Once the Senators had all been greeted advocates headed over to the House of Delegates offices to thank representatives for passing the Blueprint policies (big recent news!) and remind them that we still needed to have the funding package passed to make the Blueprint a success.
Quaker Voice looks forward to being a continued partner in supporting the work of Strong Schools Maryland in getting the Blueprint for Maryland's Future bill passed during this legislative session. Check out their resources for contacting your legislator and take action by contacting your rep!
(Above) Molly Finch, Quaker Voice member, greets her representative Senator Antonio Hayes (D40).(Right) Playing card distributed to representatives during advocacy day.

Lobbying with F/friends | Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform | Feb. 26, 2020


Many Quakers are currently active with Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform and were present at lobby day to show support for the many legislative priorities that the organization has this year; five of these are also shared by Quaker Voice. Shared priorities include the Blueprint for Maryland's Future, Felony Murder Review, Correctional Education, and Solitary Limitations and Release.
While all the active Quakers who were present for the event can not all be named here, there were representatives from Annapolis, Baltimore, Frederick, Harford, Howard and Montgomery counties.
Looking forward to running in to more Friends at our upcoming advocacy day on March 10th.

Lobbying with F/friends | Interfaith Action for Human Rights | Feb. 19, 2020


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland joined other groups of faith for the Interfaith Action for Human Rights lobby day in Annapolis to with the goal of educating representatives about HB740 and HB742 - two of the legislative priorities for Quaker Voice during the 2020 session. Meetings were scheduled by IAHR so we could talk with representatives from across the state about the importance of these bills in reducing the use and abuse of solitary confinement/restrictive housing in Maryland. We also had the opportunity to meet with Delegate Jazz Lewis, the major sponsor of these two bills.
The hearing date for these two bills in the House will be Feb. 25th @ 1PM; IAHR encouraged people to attend the hearing to show support for the bills if they are able or submit letters of support that can be included in submitted documents.
Two members of the Quaker Voice working group were in attendance (Suzanne O'Hatnick and Molly Finch) and many Friends were present in the group of registered attendees.
Looking forward to running in to more Friends at our upcoming advocacy days on Feb. 26th and March 10th.

Participants in Interfaith Action for Human Rights lobby day take a photo with Delegate Jazz Lewis, the lead sponsor of HB740 and HB742 (Photo credit: Suzanne O'Hatnick)

Lobbying with F/friends | Chesapeake Climate Action Network | Feb. 17, 2020


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland gathered to attend the Chesapeake Climate Action Network lobby day in Annapolis in support of the Climate Solutions Act of 2020 (formerly the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act) - one of the legislative priorities for Quaker Voice during the 2020 session. Meetings were scheduled by CCAN so we could talk with our representatives about the importance of this bill in updating Maryland's goals to combat climate change.
We also shared information on additional bills of interest related to Climate Justice in Maryland: Climate Test for MD's PSC's, Community Solar, and Stopping Subsidizing for Incinerators as Green Energy.
Check out three Quaker Voice members sporting our new advocacy buttons in the House of Delegates -- Jamie DeMarco, Molly Mitchell, and Molly Finch!
Looking forward to running in to more Friends at our upcoming advocacy days on Feb. 19th, Feb. 26th and March 10th.

Quaker Voice of Maryland Presentation | Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting | Feb. 16, 2020


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland presented to Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting; members present included Molly Mitchell, Molly Finch, Jesse Greer, Phil Caroom, & Suzanne O'Hatnick.
Agenda items included: - Updating Friends on our progress since becoming a working group in February 2019.- Sharing our priority legislation for the current General Assembly.- Leading Friends in an elevator advocacy speech exercise.- Using queries to encourage Meetings to discuss how they could support Quaker Voice of Maryland's work this year and in the future.
We received lots of valuable feedback from Friends to help us as we strive to work with and activate Quakers across the state to bring a Quaker Voice to advocacy in Annapolis.

Quaker Voice of Maryland | Phone Meeting | Feb. 4, 2020


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland organizing group met to discuss the following agenda items:- Share updates on legislative priorities for the 2020 session- Review updates to the legislative priorities flier; will be updated by Quarterly Meeting for distribution.- Discuss Lobby Day opportunities to partner with groups that align with our interests
We will be supporting groups that are sponsoring lobby days that will be advocating for our priority initiatives. Groups include Maryland Alliance for Justice Form (2/26), Interfaith Action for Human Rights (2/19), Chesapeake Climate Action Network (2/17), Strong Schools Maryland (TBD), and Friday's for the Future (either 3/6 or 3/13). Once advocacy dates are finalized we will be sharing those dates with our email contacts and Meeting contacts.
We plan to be updating our events calendar to include lobby days when dates are finalized and important hearing dates for our priority legislation.
We plan to be presenting at Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting in February during the final session.

Quaker Voice of Maryland | Phone Meeting | Dec. 18, 2019


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland organizing group met to discuss the following agenda items:- Review legislative priority information resources and possible enhancements/improvements- Delegate leaders for legislative initiatives and discuss how updates will be disseminated around the group / connected Meetings- Discuss Lobby Day opportunities to partner with groups that align with our interests
We will be updating our Legislative Priorities for 2020 handout before the session begins on Jan. 8th so that it can be a resource for Lobby Days and to share with Meetings digitally/in person.
The current version of the handout can be found on our Resources section.
We plan to be presenting at Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting in February; at this point we are not sure how much time will be available for our group but are excited for the opportunity to update Quarterly on the work we have been doing and our plan for the 2020 legislative session.

Quaker Voice of Maryland | Organizing Members Retreat | Oct. 19, 2019


Members of the Quaker Voice of Maryland organizing group met to discuss the following agenda items:- Priority legislation for the 2020 session- Process to continuing outreach to Maryland Meetings- Next steps to prepare for November meeting (11/19/19)
Based off of input from Meetings and Friends that completed our survey we determined the following issues stood out as top priorities:- Climate Justice- Criminal Justice / Prison Reform- Immigration Civil Rights- Gun Violence Prevention & Peace Building
While we discussed many bills to support under each issue, we reach consensus on one bill for each issue that will be our top priority:- Maryland Renews Bill (Climate Justice)- Solitary Confinement (Criminal Justice / Prision Reform)- Override of the Dream Act Veto (Immigration Civil Rights)- Kirwan Commission Bill (Gun Violence Prevention & Peace Building)
Stay tuned for a top priority issues flier posted on our Resources section!