A Just Reckoning

May 19, 2021 @ 7:00PM — 8:30PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Be an agent of change

A Just Reckoning image

Transitional Justice and Lynching in Maryland

There are currently no tickets available for this event, but you can still make a donation.


Maryland today has a unique and historic opportunity. It alone, among all states, has made a deliberate decision to confront its dark history of racial terror lynching.

Even before the wave of protests touched off by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, Maryland was positioning itself for this reckoning.

In 2019 the state legislature unanimously passed an act creating the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission (MLTRC), the first and only one of its kind in the country. The Commission is tasked to:

  • learn the truth about the 40 known racial terror lynchings in the state
  • assess the damage these unsolved murders continue to wreak
  • make recommendations for addressing the legacy of lynching
  • begin to imagine what a project of racial reconciliation might look like

Today, the momentum for change in the nation offers an opportunity to advance truth and acknowledgment as the basis for defining reparations and reforms that will unravel systemic racism in the US. The MLTRC gives Maryland the opportunity, and responsibility, to lead this effort.

The tools of transitional justice may be vital in this quest. According to the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), “transitional justice is a response to systematic or widespread violations of human rights. It seeks recognition for victims and promotion of possibilities for peace, reconciliation and democracy.”

Around the globe, ICTJ has observed that the success of transitional justice efforts depends on windows of opportunity when there is both demand from citizens and political will. Such a window has opened in Maryland, but it’s critical that we act soon because the political winds will eventually change, and when they do, established efforts and institutions will be more resistant to being dismantled.

In Maryland, our time is now.

Join the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project for an online virtual forum to explore how the tools and techniques of transitional justice can support truth and reconciliation efforts in the state and set an example for the nation.

Panelists include:

  • Dr. Kelebogile Zvobgo, founder and Director of the International Justice Lab at
    William & Mary
  • Dr. Nicholas Creary, Associate Provost of Academic Inclusion and Innovation at Moravian College and MLTRC Commissioner
  • Virginie Ladisch, Senior Expert, ICTJ
  • Terri Freeman, Executive Director, Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture
  • Clory Jackson, Founder of the Brownsville Project and the Allegany County Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Committee (ACLTRC)

Proposed Program:

Introduction: Moment of Opportunity

MLTRC in Context-Framing the work

  • What is Transitional Justice? How does it apply to Maryland’s Truth and Reconciliation efforts?
  • What is Restorative Justice? How does restorative justice inform the mandate of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

Public Hearings- Raising awareness and catalyzing engagement

  • How have other truth commissions used public hearings as a way to raise public awareness and catalyze engagement in the issues being discussed? What formats and approaches have been most effective in other contexts?

What is my role? Institutional Engagement and Citizen Engagement

  • How can the general public, universities, schools, communities, and NGOs engage in and support the work of the ML TRC? What about non-traditional partnerships, who they would be?
  • For this work to succeed, we need buy in from both institutions and from young people who will be carrying this work forward. How can the work of the MLTRC and other local initiatives help young people become engaged citizens who help shape Maryland’s present and future to be more just and inclusive?

What does reconciliation mean for Maryland? What does it look like?

  • What does reconciliation mean? Reconciliation with whom? What are necessary steps we need to take before being able to talk about reconciliation?
  • What are we working towards in the end? What are realistic expectations? What is the time frame for this work?
  • How can we use arts-based initiatives to open spaces for diverse audiences to reflect on and discuss these issues? How can the art community help address enduring legacies of injustice at the grassroots level in Maryland? What type of support is needed?