Barbara R. Arnwine, Esq., WOL-AM (Igniting Change Radio)

On Tuesday, June 9th, 2020, 12:00-1:00 PM Eastern Time, Host Barbara R. Arnwine, Esq. founder and president of the Transformative Justice Coalition (TJC), and her Co-Host Daryl D. Jones, Esq., TJC Board Chair and Henault & Sysko Chartered Partner, conducted a special interview with Congressman John Sarbanes (D-3 MD), who represents Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard and Montgomery Counties, to discuss major developments in the U.S. Congress affecting American democracy, policing, and the right to vote. They also briefly covered the states holding primaries and special elections on June 9th, and the voting problems being experienced, especially and as represented by Georgia with an interview with Tricia “CK” Hoffler, incoming president of the National Bar Association and Chair of the Board of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.     

The worldwide protests that have been generated since the May 25th, 2020 brutal slaying of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police have continued to grow in intensity. These protests have spawned a number of legislative and policy responses throughout the country, most recently in the United States Congress where the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 was introduced on Monday, June 8th. After an initial round of horrifying and violent police responses to protests, disturbances and uprisings, the recent protests have continued to gain in momentum and numbers and have been largely peaceful. Surprisingly, the movement for abolition and to defund the police has gained serious traction with the Minneapolis City Council which pledged to disband the Minneapolis Police Department and instead institute a community-led comprehensive public safety program. 

TJC President Barbara Arnwine has been actively conducting public education about the relationship between the origins of the United States police in slavery and the embedded racism and White vigilantism which persists to this day. TJC has worked during this time to educate Americans about the linkage between policing restructuring and "downballot" voting.

As Congressman Sarbanes is a national leader in the United States Congress on protecting our democracy and the right to vote, his participation in our show is very timely. Another positive outcome to happen because of the protests in the streets has been a needed reversal in voter registration as more young people have been inspired to register and vote.

On June 9th, there were statewide primaries in Georgia; North Dakota; Nevada; South Carolina; and, West Virginia. There were school county primaries and general elections in Georgia, as well as a special election in the State Senate District 4. There were school county district primary elections in Nevada. The Lackawanna City School District held their general elections in New York. And there were several school county primary elections in South Carolina. If you have or had any problems voting, please call the Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.  

See guest bio left.

Questions to be discussed include: Please tell us about the Democracy Reform Task Force, for which you serve as chair.; What is the Heroes Act?; Will the funding from the Heroes Act supply the desired relief for America’s voters?; $3.6B in addition to the $400M from the CARES Act seems to be a lot of money. What was the desired amount to create safe polling places and safe methods of voting in America?; Does the CARES ACT funding sunset (end) at the end of this year, and if passed by the Senate and enacted into law, would the Heroes Act also sunset??; Do you believe that Vote-By-Mail (VBM) is good for voter participation in general and should America consider a federal requirement that all states make VBM accessible to voters without major barriers?; Automatic voter registration is a component of H.R. 1. Do you also support Universal Voting, in which every American on their 18th birthday is given, without exception or exemption, an inalienable right to vote that is never forfeited nor suspended?; There was a situation in Baltimore concerning people registered to vote who were properly registered to vote and who should of received a ballot for their party. Is there a proposal to address these issues for the general election in November?; For people that wanted to vote in person, there was a shuttering of polling sites. This seemed to lead to some confusion regarding where people should go to vote. How do we address this issue before the general election?; There is a general philosophical divide regarding VBM. Do you believe that VBM will remain a contentious issue for the general election?; What are your thoughts on the current Black Lives Matters movement and George Floyd protests?; The House of Representatives just introduced the “Justice in Policing Act of 2020.” The bill bans chokeholds, establishes a national database to track police misconduct, and prohibits “no knock” search warrants on people’s homes. What is your opinion of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020?; In Maryland, the State Legislature passed the Maryland Criminal Justice Reinvestment Act, which, in essence, re-allocated funds from incarcerating inmates to rehabilitating and investing in treatment, education, and expunging old crimes from misdemeanor and felony convictions. Do you have any thoughts on a federal reinvestment act such as the movement to defund, and/or reconstruct policing in America?; What are your thoughts regarding lowering or removing the qualified immunity for police officers?; How can voters in Maryland and nationwide support the Justice In Policing Act of 2020?; H.R. 1, H.R. 4, and the Heroes Act are all currently stalled in the Senate. What do you see as the best strategy to have these bills become law?

Listen to the entire interview on WOL-AM.