Baltimore faith leaders discuss racism and police brutality

In a panel facilitated by the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore clergy members discuss faith during times of crisis

Against the backdrop of nationwide protests against police brutality and racism, the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins brought together three Baltimore clergy members Friday for a wide-ranging discussion of faith leadership in times of crisis.

“I’ve struggled. I had to go to my dungeon and be shaken by the Lord out of the overwhelming sense of anger, frustration, and despair that was gripping me,” said Bishop Douglas Miles, pastor of Koinonia Baptist Church in northeast Baltimore. “Because even looking at [police violence] in relation to the pandemic, we find all of us in America in the same storm. But we’re not all in the same boat.”

The conversation took the place of the weekly pandemic-themed speaker series the Agora Institute has hosted since March. In her introduction to the talk, Agora Institute inaugural director Hahrie Han, a professor of political science, said the pivot in direction for the speaker series was necessary in order to understand the “extraordinary political movement unfolding” across the country and to answer questions about democracy, citizenship, and governance that are central to the institute’s mission to expand civic engagement. This Friday, the institute will hold a conversation exploring the history of the political movement to transform policing and what a new system of public safety might look like. It will feature JHU political scientist Vesla Weaver and Harvard University’s Daniel Ziblatt.

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