We are asking that our elected officials, The State of Maryland (specifically the Departments of General Services and the Environment), and Stevenson University include a permanent tribute to the former residents of Rosewood, who suffered human rights abuses across its 121-year history, in the plans they are creating for the future of the property.
As if the documentation “of rape, abuse, neglect, overcrowding and unsanitary conditions” during Rosewood’s operation, and the additional civil rights abuses that were summarily reported during the period leading up to its closure in 2009 weren’t enough, Slate’s recent article exposes even more horrors.
As recently shared in a blog post, the author of this petition vividly remembers visiting her brother David at Rosewood. A couple of years ago, in an attempt to honor her brother, she tried to film at Rosewood for a documentary. Instead, she found “no trespassing” signs and security patrolling the property. Upon trying to navigate the bureaucracy to film there legally, she couldn’t. She initially learned that Stevenson University and the State of Maryland were locked in negotiations over Rosewood’s future because the property is environmentally hazardous.
Today, information about a timeline for remediation and construction still isn’t easily obtained, and we collectively fear that the public is locked out of the decision making process entirely; hence this petition.
Many of us were happy to learn the decision was finally made to close the Rosewood Center back in 2009, but that victory will continue to be a hollow one so long as our community’s memory of what occurred at Rosewood continues to crumble along with its now neglected buildings; or even worse, is covered over and forgotten once new construction is completed.
The current and future custodians of this site have a moral obligation to erect and maintain a memorial grove and monument (or the like) that recognizes the lives of the many people in both the recent and distant past whose lives were damaged and even destroyed by an institution that had been built on the pretext of protecting them. Additionally, this tribute should serve as a continual reminder that we should never again warehouse our most vulnerable.