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GUEST COLUMN: Capital Gazette Memorial fundraising gets underway with kick off event

| September 12, 2018
Rams Head
Carl Snowden

Carl Snowden

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee, Inc., a nonprofit organization is leading a coalition of community groups, together with the City of Annapolis, to build a Memorial in Annapolis, home of the Capital Gazette and the five slain journalists.

The memorial honors the mission of journalism as a watchdog for our communities and an outlet for speaking truth to power. As the birthplace of freedom of the press, with Jonas Green’s rebellion against the Stamp Act of 1765, Annapolis represents the importance of community journalism-which tells our stories, holds our officials accountable and illuminates the character of the place that we call home.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee will host a kick-off event on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 6:00 -8:00 p.m., at the Severn Bank, 200 Westgate Circle, Annapolis, Maryland to raise awareness and funds for the memorial. Tickets are $100.00 per person.
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The Capital Gazette traces its roots to 1727, as one of the oldest newspaper publishers in the country, when British journalist William Parks founded the Maryland Gazette in Annapolis.  In 1767, with the death of her husband, Jonas Green, Anna Catherine Green assumed the leadership and became the first female newspaper publisher in the United States of America.
“The right to speak and to publish is a founding principle of this nation”, said Carl Snowden, Chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee. “America has been and must remain a beacon of democracy, and a free press is fundamental to who we are as a nation. The Freedom of the Press Memorial will honor the memory of the Capital Gazette employees whose work represented the essential role that journalism plays in our communities”.
The City of Annapolis has identified potential sites for the Freedom of the Press Memorial, which will be announced at the September 26th event.  Attending the event and making comments will be Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, Alderwoman Elly Tierney, former Anne Arundel County Councilman Daryl Jones, ACLU of Maryland executive director Dana Vickers Shelley and the Honorable Carl O. Snowden.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee has successfully spearheaded capital fundraising campaigns in the past that resulted in a $400,000 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial donated to the Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold,  a Coretta Scott King Memorial Garden located at the Holy Temple Church in Edgewater and a $50,000 Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial located in Annapolis across from the Arundel Center.
All of these memorials were paid for by private donors and donated to Anne Arundel Community College, Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis. Each of these entities accepted these memorials and agreed that they would be accessible to the public.
“A free society begins with a free press”, said Attorney Daryl Jones. Mr. Jones is a member of a select subcommittee of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee that is spearheading this effort. Other members include Arrorney Vickie Gipson, Alderwoman Elly Tierney, Juanita Cage Lewis, Marion Wenn, De Lorma Goodwyn, J.T. Sharps, and Carl Snowden.
The Capital Gazette Freedom of the Press Memorial has also won the support of the Caucus of African-American Leaders a consortium of black organizations in Anne Arundel County. The Baltimore Media Group, which owns the Baltimore Sun and the Capital is also supporting this effort.
It is anticipated that the memorial will be erected next year. The mass murder of journalists in Annapolis by a lone shooter is the largest killings of journalists in the State of Maryland. The alleged shooter will be tried in January for these horrific murders.
“They may kill journalists but they will never kill journalism”, said Mr. Snowden. He further stated, “The Capital Gazette Freedom of the Press will serve as a permanent reminder that the media is not the enemy of the people, but, our best hope for a free society, where truth reigns”.
–Carl O. Snowden
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