JUSTICE DAY – May 15
You are cordially invited to participate virtually in Justice Day: In Pursuit of Racial Equity in Chestertown, MD MAY 15, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:45 pm to listen and reflect on our shared histories of racial inequality and terror with the purpose of reconciliation, justice and equity for all, hosted by the James Taylor Justice Coalition of Sumner Hall. Via Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/94328245385?pwd=SlhtQWozWmZOdmFmRXlraVhrUWFyQT09) and live Facebook streaming. No registration needed.
- Sherrilyn A. Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation’s premier civil rights law organization fighting for racial justice and equality. She is also the author of On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century Nowhere is the challenge of confronting the past greater than in those [Eastern Shore of Maryland] counties where lynching occurred.
- Savannah Shepherd, 18-year-old college freshman and social justice activist. Working closely with the Equal Justice Initiative and the State of Delaware, she initiated the Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition (DSJRC) to acknowledge past incidents of racial terror in order to understand and change current injustices.
- Larry Wilson, President of Sumner Hall and Co-Chair of the James Taylor Justice Coalition, will provide an overview of the vision and mission of the coalition. Ruth Shoge, First Vice President of Sumner Hall, will introduce the 2021 JTJC- EJI High School Essay Contest for Kent County. John Queen, Co-Founder and President of Bayside HOYAS and Chairman of the Black Union of Kent County, will kick-off a summer book club reading of Sherrilyn A. Ifill’s book.
4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States of America between 1882 and 1968. James Taylor, an African American, was lynched in Chestertown, Maryland in 1892, steps from the courthouse lawn.
The James Taylor Justice Coalition (JTJC) believes that only by telling the unvarnished truth about the past can we begin to address the current injustices faced by people of color today. Our goal: Armed with the truth of the past and knowledge of the present, the people of Kent County and the Eastern Shore of Maryland will undertake the changes in our society necessary to insure justice and equity for all.
The James Taylor Justice Coalition is associated with the Community Remembrance Project of the Equal Justice Initiative
The James Taylor Justice Coalition of Sumner Hall is a grass roots initiative of individuals and organizations of Kent County, Maryland, founded in July 2019. It is named in memory of James Taylor, who was lynched in Chestertown in 1892 – one of at least 40 African Americans murdered by white mobs in Maryland between 1884 and 1933. The intention of the coalition is to publicly recognize that our community fell far short of our legal and moral obligations to provide equal justice for all when James Taylor became a victim of racial terrorism.
Members of the coalition are inspired by other communities and encouraged by the state law (HB#307) that established the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first of its kind in the nation. It passed unanimously in both the Maryland House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Hogan in February 2019. We also appreciate the work of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project – a 501(c)(3) corporation established “to advance the cause of reconciliation in our state by documenting the history of racial terror lynchings, advocating for public acknowledgement of these murders, and working to honor and dignify the lives of the victims.”
We believe that acknowledging the unvarnished truth about the legacy of slavery is fundamental to unifying our community in peace and harmony, enabling us to work together to address the ongoing challenge of present-day racism. In the words of Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Fourteenth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution: “Let us use history to inspire us to push a country forward, to help us believe that all things are possible and to demand a country lives up to its stated ideals.”
In 2020, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) agreed to include the James Taylor Remembrance Coalition as part of its national Community Remembrance Project. This partnership brings many resources to our JTJC and links us to a powerful national initiative.
To learn more about the JTJC’s work, watch our current Power Point Presentation: