As a Friend and a retired Baltimore police detective, Debbie B. Ramsey brings a unique perspective to serving her community. “As Quakers, you know, we’re within ourselves, we internalize, and we seek the Light and in doing so we have our quiet time,” she says. “But then at the same time we have to get out there and kick up some dust, you know?”
“I am very, very happy to know that where I worship speaks to many, many aspects of a community that is in need, that is in harm’s way, who are threatened,” Debbie says. “That’s just how we put our faith in action.” In this interview, Debbie discusses her role in shaping Baltimore’s United Efforts community outreach programs.
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When I started worshiping here at Stony Run, I knew it was important to find a committee that was not just well suited for me but my life experiences and the talents that I was bringing to my Stony Run. It took a while for me to decide which committee, but I ended up with Baltimore Quakers Peace and Justice, and one of the things that we were responsible for doing is to look at the community at large and put our faith into action, and it was at a time when I was one of the co-clerks with Baltimore Quakers Peace and Justice that I had a leading!
Serving Outside the Quaker Community
I’m Debbie B. Ramsey, I live here in Baltimore, Maryland, and I attend Stony Run Meeting in Baltimore.
Creating the Program “Unified Efforts”
Prior to my joining Baltimore Quakers Peace and Justice, I was under contract with Baltimore City Parks and Recreation to provide after school programs, bullying prevention programs, violence prevention programs, to students when they were out of school, and I felt very very comfortable doing that in my professional walk of life, and I’m pretty sure I was asked to do that because of my career as a police officer and detective. And doing so, I would go out through Baltimore City to different locations that the city felt would best be served with my attributes, and so fast forward we have been in that community consistently for the last 6 years providing after school programs and services, no cost to parents, for their children K-12.
An Example of Unified Efforts at Work
Yeah, another thing that we do with Unified Efforts is that we feel that our kids should know who their predominantly authoritative public servants are. We’re talking about the police– We would not want our children to only interact with the police when there’s something, you know, horrific happening in their community. So what we do is that the police department, annually, opens up their doors for our students to have a tour. We’re trying to show them that you can have a relationship with your police department– this is your police department– and to see it from within.
Putting Faith in Action
I am very, very happy to know that where I worship speaks to many, many aspects of a community that is in need, that is in harm’s way, who are threatened, and that’s just how we put our faith in action. The meeting house that I worship, it goes out — our faith we put into action and that’s how I see myself: as an action person. And it’s almost as if it’s the yin and the yang: as Quakers, you know, we’re within ourselves, we internalize, and we seek the Light and in doing so we have our quiet time. But then at the same time we have to get out there and kick up some dust, you know? So to know that if you’re coming from love–if you’re coming from that space of love– then we know that we’re on the right track.
- 1) How can we extend our actions outside of our meeting houses and own communities?
- 2) What specific tools or attributes do you bring to your Quaker community from your personal or professional life?
The views expressed in this video are of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Friends Journal or its collaborators.