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Commentary

Carlester Smith is a symbol that Annapolis can accept people who are different

The temptation, of course, is to think that only people in power make a difference in our lives. Carlester Smith proved the notion wrong. To his family and friends, Smith was a kind and caring figure who grew up in Annapolis after his family relocated following a fire. He attended local schools until the sixth grade in the 1960s, an era of education that didn’t work very hard to find a place in the classroom for students with developmental disabilities. Smith was placed in a vocational institute.

Editorial: Election reform: Judge Sarbanes’ proposal on merit, not partisan advantage

There has always something essentially quixotic in Rep. John Sarbanes’ “For The People Act,” its title as idealistic as anything found on its nearly 800 pages of content. In sum, what H.R.1 attempts to do is fix much of what is broken in this nation’s election system, chiefly by making voting more accessible, ending partisan redistricting, raising ethical standards, and exposing and reducing the influence of big money in politics. Americans should be celebrating its passage in the U.S. House of Representatives late Wednesday and giving thanks to the 58-year-old Maryland Democrat, the eldest son of the late Sen. Paul Sarbanes, who has made this worthy cause a personal crusade.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Capehart: Time for some more ‘good trouble’ on voting rights, 56 years after ‘Bloody Sunday’

On Sunday, March 7, 1965 — exactly 56 years ago — the Rev. Hosea Williams and 25-year-old John Lewis walked side-by-side as they led some 600 Black men, women and children on a march for voting rights from the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Ala., to the state capitol in Montgomery. Only, they never made it to Montgomery. In fact, they were just about one mile into their 54-mile march — just over the Edmund Pettus Bridge — when a line of Alabama state troopers advanced on Lewis and the peaceful marchers with billy clubs, tear gas and horses.

Fani-Gonzalez: Too many struggle with Montgomery’s housing costs. Here’s how government can help.

Within 30 minutes, on a Friday afternoon in the fall of 2020, I was able to capture the agony of the American experience: “[Housing] is too expensive unless you make over $60,000.” “You get what you pay for . . . as long as you have steady pay.” “Half of my monthly salary goes to pay the rent.” “About 70 percent of my monthly salary is used to pay the rent.” Those were some comments I received when asking working adults about their housing experience in Montgomery County, one of the most diverse counties in the nation — ethnically, racially and economically.

Downie: When states unmask, we know what happens next

A year ago this week, Mississippi recorded its first confirmed case of covid-19. The state’s new governor, Tate Reeves (R), seemed unconcerned: Rather than issue stay-at-home orders or other statewide mitigation measures, he took a family trip to Europe and urged Mississippians to trust in the “power of prayer.” By the end of the month, the state had the highest hospitalization rate in the country. Then, in August, after thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths, Reeves issued a statewide mask mandate — only to lift it again less than two months later.

Shah: Four Fantastic Ways to Improve Vote by Mail in Md

Like everything else in 2020, our elections had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure people could safely vote. The pandemic has laid bare some of the already existing barriers to voting while also demonstrating some of the smart policies at our disposal to make our elections’ systems more accessible, efficient and secure. Our democracy works best when we all participate, so our state leaders should learn from our experience in 2020 to ensure all eligible voters are able to participate.

Wilson: Equity, Opportunity and the Return on Investment of a College Education

Talent is spread evenly across our population — across all genders, races and socioeconomic backgrounds. But opportunity, sadly, is not. How do you ensure that talent meets opportunity? The answer is simple: Invest. Every investor anticipates a return, whether they’re contributing to a 401(k), financing a new business venture or remodeling a kitchen. The same goes for investments in people. We give them our time, our money and ourselves, with the expectation that they use those gifts to produce something meaningful that adds value to our communities.

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
A year of deadly coronavirus in Maryland: life interrupted, fears faced and faith still alive

I note with odd irony an email received one year ago and kept as a kind of souvenir. It was from the Friends of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and Refuge announcing a lecture entitled “Conserving Insects and What You Can Do To Help,” to be delivered on Saturday, March 7 by Dr. Rebeccah Waterworth, entomologist in the Office of Pesticide Programs at the Environmental Protection Agency. The email arrived with an invitation attached and ended with these words: “The attachment is virus free and safe to open.”

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Wage increases just a start toward equity efforts at Baltimore museums

Like many of America’s institutions, art museums have largely left out the contributions of African Americans, women and other people of color, their permanent exhibits generally filled with the works of white men. The racial makeup of the executive staff and boards of these museums traditionally also has been very homogeneous and, therefore, the thinking very white centered. Baltimore’s two largest museums are confronting and acknowledging this one-dimensional past that essentially treated whole populations as if they were invisible and made no contribution to the art world. Baltimore is a city that is more than 60% Black, but those residents couldn’t find much of themselves in its museums even today.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
As COVID-19 variants pick up the pace, here’s how to stay safe while you await vaccination

On March 5, 2020, just a year ago, Maryland had its first case of COVID-19. Since then, the pandemic has taken a grim toll on Maryland with over 7,600 confirmed deaths and tens of thousands of people needing to be hospitalized, many of whom will face unknown long-term consequences. While the pandemic has affected all of us, some groups have been hit harder with higher rates of infection and death, including racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly and the poor. We are losing whole generations of people while the virus causes further widening of gaps in life expectancy.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

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