Newsworthy Buzz

June 17, 2020

Erricka Bridgeford named Executive Director of Baltimore Community Mediation Center

 

Baltimore Community Mediation Center (BCMC) has named Erricka Bridgeford as its new Executive Director.  Erricka has a long history with BCMC, having worked as a mediation coordinator with the organization beginning in 2001 before later moving to Community Mediation Maryland (CMM), where she has served as the Director of Training since 2005.  In that role, Erricka has provided training in conflict management and mediation skills to police departments and sheriff’s offices, universities, national and local governmental agencies, and at several national conferences, and has mediated countless disputes.

Erricka also is well known in the community as the co-founder and public face of Baltimore Ceasefire 365, an organization formed with the simple purpose of encouraging Baltimore residents to put down their weapons and reduce violence for 72 hours at a time.  Since its creation in 2017, Ceasefire has gained national attention, and Erricka was named the 2017 Marylander of the Year by the Baltimore Sun.

Erricka is stepping into her new role with passion and enthusiasm, and with the support of her colleagues at CMM.  CMM supports community mediation centers across Maryland, and will bring additional resources and support to BCMC during this transition period.  We are confident that Erricka will continue to build on the excellent foundation put in place through the Center’s 23-year history.  Erricka may be reached at the Center at director@communitymediation.org or 410-467-9165.

Erricka replaces outgoing Executive Director Shantay Jackson, who is leaving BCMC to found EVOLVE to Lead, a consulting firm that will allow her to leverage her experience in corporate, non-profit, and government sectors to support, advise, and transform organizations in Baltimore and beyond.  Under Shantay’s leadership, BCMC expanded its services to include more mediation locations, more outreach, greater visibility, and more community engagement, spearheading initiatives such as the opening of the Woodbourne-McCabe Safe Streets Center and partnerships such as the Baltimore Neighbors Network. 

“We at BCMC are grateful for Shantay’s leadership, particularly through recent times of adversity relating to Covid-19 and its economic impact, and are certain that she will continue to serve the community in innovative and exciting ways,” stated BCMC Board President Ben Schuman.  “We are also thrilled to welcome Erricka back into the BCMC family, and can’t wait to collaborate with her on the next chapter of BCMC’s mission of transforming conflict in Baltimore.”

Baltimore Community Mediation Center believes that relationships matter. Mediation lets people speak for themselves and make their own decisions. Mediation is an informal process done in a neutral and private setting with two professionally trained volunteer mediators.  Mediations in the programs are neutral, voluntary, and confidential, and model reflective listening and transparency.  Programs focus on communities, schools, and criminal justice, including prisoner re-entry and state’s attorney-referred cases.  Mediation has proven to reduce recidivism by 10% for the first mediation session and an additional 7% for every subsequent session. 

June 15, 2019

Sharon Reynolds named Community Mediation Maryland's Volunteer of the Year from Baltimore City

Each year, the Baltimore Community Mediation Center is pleased to be able to honor an outstanding volunteer at the Community Mediation Maryland Gala. For 2019, that volunteer is Sharon Reynolds. Sharon is one of BCMC’s most dedicated volunteer mediators. Since joining BCMC, Sharon has mediated almost a hundred sessions. She is dedicated to improving her craft, and was recently certified at level 6 (the highest possible) through a rigorous performance-based evaluation (PBE).

 

“Mediation is the verbal manifestation of what I’ve been working on physically.”

Sharon is especially dedicated to helping people who are about to be released from jail or prison make plans with their family, loved ones, and support systems on the outside through our prison re-entry mediation program. Sharon was moved to get involved with re-entry mediation because she felt that the usual systems we have for dealing with crime, especially prisons, are sick and unhelpful. Mediations, she says, even when they touch on raw and ugly topics, are collaborative and come from a place of wanting to show love and support. She also considers criminal misdemeanor cases referred from the State’s Attorney’s Office a highlight of her work, especially when they get beyond the court charges and start talking about broader relationships. For instance, one of her cases started with a vandalism charge between former friends but ended with the three women making an agreement to stop hiding their feelings and life changes from each other.

Sharon sees many parallels between mediation and another one of her long-time passions, the defensive martial art Aikido (which she has been practicing and teaching for nearly 25 years!). Aikido, like mediation, is designed to be accessible to and inclusive of people of all sizes, circumstances, and abilities. Her students have included a woman who received a black belt at 73 years old, and someone who had had a catastrophic motorcycle accident that limited her mobility. Mediation, like Aikido, is about taking the energy of a conflict and not joining the clash but redirecting it in new ways. And in both, the goal is to protect and support everyone in the conflict – in Aikido, the goal is to protect yourself and your attacker. Sharon added mediation to her skills after upheavals in her life left her feeling like she had more tools for physical than emotional conflict.

Fortunately for BCMC, she describes herself as someone whose loyalty to Baltimore is only reinforced by the fact that she and her husband chose to move here, and found it an open and friendly place to live. We hope she will stay and continue working with us for quite some time!

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"Erricka steps into this role with passion and enthusiasm"