More than 500 people have contacted Richard Wolf, the investigator for the state Attorney General’s Office, since the report about alleged sexual abuse by clergy and others in the Archdiocese of Baltimore came out two weeks ago.

I asked him if he was exhausted. Without hesitation, he told me no, because this is the first time many have told their story to anybody. So however hard it may be to do his job, it’s harder for them.

Most are new survivors. Many institutions in this state are hoping nobody looks too closely their way — like when you don’t want the teacher to call on you. This applies to the church, law enforcement, the government, schools, a hospital.

But thousands of broken angels are rising up together, a real big band of them. Their strength comes from each other and all of us who honor them, respect them, care for them and love them. Institutional power is mighty, but temporary. Masks are falling off, revealing dishonesty, disrespect, evil and greed. They are afraid of our beautiful angels, who are crowding the sky, the sound from their wings deafening.

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Sometimes I think the world and everybody in it is crazy and senseless and are we going to die today in a nuclear surprise. But when I look at the sky and know that those one-wing doves are winning, winning, winning and making us all pay attention to what is true and just, I feel a little less crazy and a little more hopeful that we are changing the world.

So, let’s give it up for the angels among us.

Gemma Hoskins, Baltimore

Gemma Hoskins is a graduate of Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore and is an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. She was featured in the 2017 Netflix docuseries “The Keepers,” which examines the decades-old murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik and its suspected link to a priest who was Keough’s chaplain.

Not so fast on federal disaster declaration for Chesapeake Bay

Wild celery and other bay grasses grow in the Susquehanna Flats south of Havre de Grace, Md., on Aug. 2, 2019.
A request for a federal disaster declaration for the Chesapeake Bay is not the best approach for improving the bay’s health, Capt. Rob Newberry, chair of the Delmarva Fisheries Association Inc., says. (Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program)

Gov. Wes Moore’s recent request to the federal government for a federal disaster declaration for the Chesapeake Bay is well-intentioned but is not the best approach for improving the immediate and longer-term health of the bay.

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Gov. Moore’s more recent initiative to address the serious and steadily increasing harm from invasive blue catfish in the bay is a much better approach and merits far greater support. That initiative is to allocate $6.1 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Maryland Department of Agriculture for the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program. This program connects local farmers, watermen, waterwomen and fresh seafood processors with Maryland food banks.

At the Delmarva Fisheries Association, we fully agree with Gov. Moore’s observation that “We do not need to choose between supporting agriculture, supporting our seafood sector, and fighting hunger. We can and we must do all the above at absolutely the same time.” Just as importantly, the measurable results of the new funding for the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program can be monitored and adjusted continuously if needed.

We suggest another initiative that will even further help address the blue catfish invasion of the bay. That initiative is congressional action to address issues with USDA inspections of blue catfish harvested from the bay. These inspections can be time-consuming, cumbersome, costly to watermen and waterwomen, costly to seafood processors, and ultimately, costly to seafood consumers, who increasingly are learning to appreciate the taste of freshly caught blue catfish.

U.S. Rep. Andy Harris now serves as chairman of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. This puts him in a prime position to help address this issue.

Now is the time to move quickly and boldly on the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program and on federal fresh-caught blue catfish inspections.

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We look forward to such action as soon as possible as another step in helping to ensure the wild seafood harvests in the Chesapeake Bay will not only survive, but also thrive.

Capt. Rob Newberry, Crumpton

Capt. Rob Newberry is chair of the Delmarva Fisheries Association Inc.

Don’t underestimate impact volunteerism can have in Maryland

Companies can foster a strong culture of employee giving by designing employee volunteer programs, Janet Currie, Greater Maryland president of Bank of America, says. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Communities across the nation are facing challenges — supply chain delays, inflation and overall cost increases that can affect how family households and nonprofit organizations are able to support those most in need.

Because of this evolving landscape, some organizations need help to meet the increased demand for critical services and programs. Without the support of volunteers, many organizations are challenged even more.

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This is where the private sector and Maryland employers can help. Companies can foster a strong culture of employee giving by designing employee volunteer programs or directing pro bono support to nonprofits around the company’s or executive’s expertise. When our community comes together and directs time and skills/resources to confront challenges and build pathways to opportunities, we can drive change that promotes individual and community growth.

For example, Bank of America actively encourages employee volunteerism throughout the year by connecting teammates to meaningful opportunities with local organizations. Employees are also offered paid weekly time off to volunteer in their communities. While Bank of America encourages volunteerism year-round, the company also dedicates April as Global Service Month to elevate awareness, drive participation and recognize its employee volunteers.

In Maryland, when we are engaged citizens, contributing our time, expertise and support to help organizations, we help meet the needs of vulnerable populations and strengthen our communities. Volunteering is one way we can make a direct impact and address some of the toughest issues facing Marylanders. This month and beyond, I encourage everyone to volunteer their time to a cause they’re passionate about. We can make a difference and help to ensure a brighter future for all.

Janet Currie, Baltimore

Janet Currie is Greater Maryland president of Bank of America. She also is a member of The Baltimore Banner board of directors.

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