Maryland Hiring a Racial Healing Workshop Leader Ahead of Community Hearings on Lynchings

    The Office of the Attorney General issued a request for proposals Monday morning seeking a racial healing workshop leader to train officials in preparation for community hearings on racially motivated lynchings in Maryland.

    The position, funded by the Emmett Till Cold Case Investigations Grant, seeks to fulfill the mission of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission by facilitating workshops and training commissioners and members of their staff on racial healing.

    The legislation that created the Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was initially supposed to run through June 30, 2022, was enacted in 2019.

    During a 2021 bill hearing, House Health and Government Operations Vice Chair Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-Anne Arundel and Prince George’s) said that the commission’s creation made Maryland “the first state in the nation to launch” such a program “to heal the horrific wounds of racial injustice.”

    According to the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, there is documentation of 39 lynchings across the state between 1854 and 1933.

    The commission has held meetings throughout the state since its inception, and received a $300,000 grant from the federal government last November for support.

    Members of the commission include the state archivist and members of the state chapter of the NAACP, the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project and historians from each of the state’s four historically black colleges and universities, among others.

    The commission is tasked with holding public hearings at documented sites of lynchings, and, with the help of community input, promoting reconciliation with the families of those who were killed.

    Under the law’s original language, the commission was to submit an interim report to the governor and the legislature by Sept. 1, 2020, file its full report by Dec. 1, 2021, and disband completely on June 30, 2022.

    Several of these deadlines were extended by legislation sponsored by Peña-Melnyk. The final report is now due Dec. 1, 2023, and the commission will disband on June 30, 2024.

    Workshop bids are due July 30, 2021, at 11 a.m. According to the request for proposals, the training will occur ahead of community hearings scheduled for October.

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    Hannah Gaskill
    Hannah Gaskill received her master’s of journalism degree in December 2019 from the University of Maryland. She previously worked on the print layout design team at The Diamondback, reported on criminal justice in Maryland for Capital News Service and served as a production assistant for The Confluence — the daily news magazine on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station. Gaskill has had bylines in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications.Before pursuing journalism, she received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016. She grew up in Ocean City.