BALTIMORE – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski and Congressman John Sarbanes (All D-Md.) today led a group of clergy, business and community leaders in a roundtable discussion on Senator Cardin’s End Racial Profiling Act of 2015, federal legislation that would prohibit discriminatory racial profiling nationwide by all levels of law enforcement, and other ways to better address the needs of Baltimore’s urban communities. The elected officials and faith, community and business leaders shared their ideas on addressing the myriad challenges faced by Baltimore’s urban communities, including unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, and lack of access to health care, child care and educational opportunities. Participants shared their perspectives on ways to rebuild trust between Baltimore communities and law enforcement, spur community investment, reinvigorate Baltimore businesses and better educate and support the city’s youth.
“Now that the international spotlight is fading, it’s up to us to work together to find solutions to help our city. We are not just rebuilding structures, but rebuilding trust and hope,” said Senator Cardin. “We won’t tolerate racial profiling by law enforcement at any level of government. It’s against the core principles of our country and is a horrific waste of resources. Even worse, it erodes the trust between residents and law enforcement officers in our communities.”
“Senator Cardin convened today’s forum to make sure we’re in touch with faith-based groups who are very close to the ground,” said Senator Mikulski. “I’m so proud of them. Every day they’re leading the way – saving souls and saving lives. We are listening to them and getting their advice on tackling short-range problems like summer camps and summer jobs, and long-range problems like education, housing and health care. I join my colleagues in fighting for justice and jobs. And I support Sen. Cardin’s bill to end racial profiling, which is discrimination plain and simple. Families in their own communities should not have to fear they will be singled out because of their race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. When we say ‘justice for all,’ we must mean it.”
“Decades of neglect and divestment in our urban communities have put well-paying jobs and educational opportunities out of reach for too many of our citizens like Freddie Gray,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “Racial profiling and distrust between police and residents is but one debilitating symptom of these longstanding and difficult challenges. I am confident that Baltimore’s community leaders will seek justice on behalf of Freddie Gray, but we must also renew our efforts at all levels of government to lift up our urban communities and provide hope and opportunity to all Americans.”
Immediately following the roundtable, Senators Cardin and Mikulski visited the Southern Baptist Church in East Baltimore, where flames engulfed a senior community center that was under construction, along with the congregation’s van for transporting seniors to services. Met by Reverend Dr. Donte L. Hickman Sr., Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other city and state officials, the senators participated in a public event to generate support for the congregation’s efforts to rebuild.
“I’d like to offer my deepest appreciation to the faith community, which provided extraordinary leadership at one of the most stressful times Baltimore has ever seen,” added Senator Cardin. “You did our city proud when we needed it most.”