[March 18th, 2008] 11:55am
Neighbors' Night Out 2 last Sunday was another success. Thank you to all the bars, restaurants and patrons who participated. I had a great time hanging out with friends and meeting supporters all over town. It was definitely amazing to be out supporting Zach while also celebrating my birthday with friends, family and the whole city.

I had planned to make it to as many sponsors as possible but got sidetracked with all of the celebrations. So even though I didn't hit each store/bar/restaurant, I am still VERY appreciative for everyone's support.

We still need to collect the donations and as soon as that is totaled, we'll post it on the website.

Thank you again for your love and support!
[March 6th, 2008] 11:30am
There are new participants added to the list of Neighbors' Night Out 2 venues. Check out the growing list here. Also, remember to wear your t-shirts!! For those that are asking about my whereabouts that day, I am starting out at Regi's for brunch and then celebrating my 28th birthday this Sunday with a very unformal bar crawl to all of the sponsors in Federal Hill, Fells and Canton. I'd like to visit and thank as many places as possible so I'll be hopping around, all over town.

Thank you in advance to everyone I see out that day. And remember, this time, it's an all day affair, so stop by any of the places any time. They are all donating a percentage of total SALES, not just profit.

Much love and many thanks,

[February 28th, 2008] 10:45am
Zach is still exactly the same, which is actually not good news since we want him to improve neurologically. The doctors are saying that his prognosis is the same as it's been from the beginning, which is not optimistic. We are definitely worried that there has been no change but we can only wait and see. We take things day by day. It's crazy to think that we've battled this "day by day" for almost 9 months now. The trial is over, the defendants are in prison, and Zach is still in the hospital. I hope that from this, you learn to live life b/c it can be taken from you in an instant. Don't sweat the small stuff. Learn to enjoy the time you have, and do what it is you've always wanted to do in life. If lack of money is the reason you can't do something, than save up and enjoy what it is that you have plenty of. No excuses. That's it for my cheesy words of wisdom for the day.

Anyway, in addition to the two fundraisers, Neighbors Night Out 2 and the benefit in June, we are working on a "Zach's Law" and will be sending it to my state delegate soon. Zach's law entails changes to current legislation regarding issues such as stricter juvenile charges, bail bond laws, jury bias, etc. Once finalized, I hope to share the requested legislation changes on this site. We met with States Attorney Pat Jessamy last week to see how we could work together and although there aren't any concrete plans right now, the door is open for both parties to share thoughts and ideas.

So, there isn't much to update on except that Neighbors Night Out 2 (NNO2) is coming up. We only have a short list of participants this time but hopefully the list will continue to grow. NNO2 will be an all-day affair on Sunday, March 9, also known as my 28th birthday:) Participants are donating 10-20% of their total sales from the whole day so eat and drink up.

Thanks again for your continued support and a big thank you to the stores and restaurants for participating in NNO2!!!
[February 19th, 2008] 10:15pm
Neighbors' Night Out 2 is a bold statement against crime. On Sunday, March 9, 2008, in honor of Zach, neighbors across Baltimore will meet at select bars and restaurants to drink, dine and send the message that we stand together against violence. 10-20% of that evening’s sales will go toward the cost of Zach's lengthy hospitalization.

Let's make the second event just as great as the first!!

See a list of participating locations »

[February 10th, 2008] 6:00pm
Unfortunately there isn't much to report on Zach's condition. He's doing the same. He's healthy and still being very well taken care of by the docs, nurses and aids. There is, however, much to report on the two fundraisers we have planned. Mark your calendars everyone because we having a Neighbors' Night Out 2 on Sunday, March 9. We are doing Sunday again b/c it's easier for the restaurants/bars and I'm happy to do what they suggest since they are kindly donating the money. We already have a bunch of sponsors for Neighbors Night Out 2 so check the Neighbors Night Out page for the growing list of participants. If you know of a restaurant/bar/store that wants to participate, please email me and we'll add them to the list. This time, we are asking for 10-20% of total sales from the entire day so feel free to come out and show this City that we're still standing together against crime at any time on Sunday, March 9. We have to make the second event just as great as the first!!

Also, to honor the first anniversary of Zach’s attack, we will celebrate hope, help and healing with a very special event, "Give Back For Zach," to be held on Sunday, June 8 at Johns Hopkins. The event will remind us that no one is safe from crime, that doctors and nurses work tirelessly to help crime victims and that volunteers DO make a difference in improving our city streets. A large portion of the money raised will go to a newly created Zach Sowers Brain Trauma Research Fund at Johns Hopkins' Neuro Critical Care Unit (NCCU). Thanks to the NCCU, Zach's life was saved the night of June 1 and we'd like to do something to give back to Hopkins and to the community. This fund will provide money for research of new therapies to help all who have suffered life-altering brain trauma injuries as well as provide patient education so that families and loved ones can understand the complexities associated with brain trauma. To give back to the community, a portion of the money raised that night will also be donated to the Baltimore Guardian Angels. The Guardian Angels organizes volunteers who provide public safety and education in neighborhoods, schools and cyberspace. The organization believes everyone has the right to be safe and is bringing its message to Baltimore with a newly established chapter. Become an Angel or find out more at www.baltimoreguardianangels.org.

Mark your calendars, please! If you know of a vendor who wants to participate in Neighbors Night Out 2, please email me and we'll add you to the list. If you're a vendor who can provide an auction item, food/catering, wine/beverages, or flowers/decor for Give Back for Zach, please email me and we can discuss further.

Also, on a much different note, Gregory Kane wrote about our 25 black leaders against stop snitching idea in Wednesday's Baltimore Sun, read it here
[January 26th, 2008] 5:30pm
There is lots of news to be shared. Zach is on his second week of a full dose of Ambien and the medicine seems to be helping his rigidness. His jaw has not locked since the Ambien and his joints are much more fluid. Neurologically, Zach is still the same. Zach has gained so much weight. On Jan. 8, he weighed 121 lbs and the last time they weighed him, he was 106 lbs. Huge improvement from the 98 lbs he weighed in October when he returned to Hopkins. Zach does seem more alert. One time when I was visiting, I was standing to his left and talking to him about random stuff. Then his doctor came in and I wanted to talk to the doctor privately and we spoke by the door, which is to Zach's far right. My friend who was with me said that although Zach was turned to his left, he kept gazing to his right since that was where my voice was. He was focused on my voice. We'll see what happens. One day at a time. Thank you again for everyone's thoughts and prayers, even after 8 months of this nightmare. Thank you for not forgetting about us and for continuing to support us.

We have two fundraisers planned. We want to do another Neighbors Night Out (NNO) in Baltimore during the weekend of March 8th, which also happens to be my birthday weekend. This time, we're asking for a percentage of total sales for the whole day. Do you think it would work? Do you think we can do a Saturday this time? If you know of a restaurant that wants to participate or have any thoughts, please email me via the "email us" link. We also want to do a silent auction on around June 1, 2008, the anniversary of Zach's attack. This event will be formal and the proceeds will be split with the Johns Hopkin Neuro Critical Care Unit, who went above and beyond to take care of Zach and the Guardian Angels, who are resurfacing in Baltimore. More about the Neighbors Night Out and the Silent Auction/Dance for Zach will be posted as we finalize details. Again, please email me if you can help find restaurants to participate in the next NNO and vendors who are wiling to donate for the silent auction.

We have also made some progress on the political/awareness front. We have an idea. We want to get 25 black leaders in business, politics, entertainment, education, etc, to join together and publicly condemn the Stop Snitching culture. This is of course a very difficult task. We me with Congressman Cummings who said he was on board and then we got a call from his assistant saying they are only on board if we (my two friends who help me with all of this) formally become an organization. I emailed Congressman Cummings to see if this was indeed true. I recently got a reply from his assistant telling me to team up with the NAACP and form an organization (i think). I wrote back to tell them I am already working witih the NAACP and why do I need to form an organization to have the congressman help us. We'll see what happens. I also have a meeting with Ms. Patrica Jessamy, Baltimore City States Attorney. I've emailed Doc Cheatham of the NAACP who is on board and provided us some contacts who can help with this initiative. I also attended a Victims Rights & Compliance conference, the first of its kind in Maryland where I met with Governor OMalley and his Executive Director of Crime Control and Prevention, who has been very helpful and wants to help us with legislative issues. The conference was amazing. I met so many key people in the Victims Rights field. I even met Roberta Roper, who is a legend in terms of Victims' Rights. She created the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center. So, things are cooking. I could go on but I then this update will turn into a book. So please still stay tuned and again, THANK YOU for every little bit that you've done to help Zach and me.

[January 4th, 2008] 9:00am
Zach is still doing well at Hopkins. He's healthy, has no other infections and continues to gain weight. His bed sore is getting better every day and it shouldn't be too much longer before it's completely healed. He had tons of visitors over the holidays since many friends and family were back in town. It was great for me to see all of our old friends and family again, especially since this holiday season was extremely depressing. Everyone that visited Zach told me how great he looked, probably the best he's looked since admitted to the hospital in June. Zach even got tons of presents - new cds, lotions, lip balms and blankets. Bobby and Nikki even gave him the ultimate spa treatment, complete with a hair washing :) If you visit Zach, follow the instructions I've taped above his bed to make sure everything is OK.

I just spoke to his PA and they just started him on Ambien (the drug normally used for insomnia that has had some positive outcomes for patients in a vegetative state) yesterday. He gets 5 mg/day and this will be bumped up until he reaches the maximum dosage, which is 20 mg/day or something like that. They also performed a test called a cerebral perfusion scan to see what parts of the brain are injured and the results were as expected. With this scan, they inject dye into Zach and watch the blood flow around the brain to see what is healthy since blood will only flow to healthy parts of the brain. He has preserved profusion, which means he has viable brain tissue left but he also has disrupted blood flow, where the brain has been injured, in the frontal lobe, back side and sides of the brain -- all the areas where he was injured during the attack.

Many of you have asked how you can help and I thought of a way you can help. You can help me shed light of the atrocity that is Baltimore City by emailing, calling, writing to other media outlets beyond the Baltimore market. Some of you have already written to Oprah or have written me with other venues to contact but I just don't have time to contact Bill O'Reilly, CNN, Good Morning America, The Today Show, etc. So, if you guys can help spread the word of what's going in Baltimore, and if this became national news - not just Zach's story but how this entire city is run by thugs and criminals who pledge the stop snitching, witness intimidating, cop hating culture, maybe there would be more pressure for change. Check out this interesting article I read earlier this week (below). Another way to help is to serve on a jury if you're summoned. If you're called in for jury duty, DO IT! Baltimore needs smart, law abiding citizens on its juries. Don't look for reasons to avoid jury duty. It's your civic duty and I ask that the next time you are summoned, to think of the hell I went through with Baltimore City prosecutors so fearful of a Baltimore City jury acquitting the 4 defendants, and take the time out of your busy life to be a juror.


282 dead: Most in city since '99
In the Baltimore Examiner by Luke Broadwater

BALTIMORE (Map, News) - The year 2007 had barely begun when Baltimore police Officer Troy Chesley was gunned down on his West Baltimore doorstep in an attempted robbery. The killing of a cop on the streets of America's most murderous city provided a portent of a bleak and bloody year. Gunshot after gunshot. Funeral after funeral. Heartbroken family after heartbroken family.

In 2007, 282 people were slain in Baltimore, the most the since 1999.

Some of the killings illustrate how random urban violence can be: The longtime correctional officer killed in a botched robbery, the 72-year-old woman fatally stabbed in her apartment, the teenager killed over $20.

The almost-daily killings can weigh heavily on a cop.

"We've had 2-year-olds and grandmothers killed this year," said Baltimore Police Union President Paul Blair. "We've had too many innocent people killed. As an officer, you deal with these grieving families. You have to rap on the door and tell them, ‘I'm sorry, ma'am, your son's not coming home.'"

No one knows that pain like the family members who lived through it.

"I still see my brother in my mind every day," said Lavar Williams, 25, whose older brother, Lorado Williams, 27, a popular area boxer, was killed during a botched street robbery Aug. 6. "They took my brother away. It makes me feel angry. Real angry."

Slayings down elsewhere

At the same time as Baltimore's homicide rate increased, other major cities - such as Boston, New York and Chicago - all tracked lower homicide rates.

For Anna Sowers, whose husband, Zach, 27, was beaten into a coma while walking home from the Canton bars in June, her emotion isn't anger. It's disbelief.

Beside herself over her husband's injuries, Anna Sowers felt victimized again when prosecutors in the case cut a plea deal with three suspects, who had admitted their guilt, for prison terms of eight years. The other suspect got 40 years.

Under Maryland law, they could be free in half that time if they behave in prison.

"Baltimore City jurors are not finding the guilty guilty," Anna Sowers says. "If you want the city to be safer, you need to put the criminals away. Criminals need to be fearful of the State's Attorney's Office. But it's the other way around. Oftentimes, it's the State's Attorney's Office that's fearful of an acquittal."

Baltimore police say they're doing their best to lock away the killers to keep them from striking again.

They've arrested 158 people on homicide charges and posted a year-end 55 percent clearance rate for slayings, an improvement over last year's 54 percent but still behind the national average of 62 percent.

What's disturbing about the suspects is this: With few exceptions, they've all been arrested before. Police had already locked up 97 percent of this year's alleged killers, 80 percent for drug crimes and 70 percent for violent crimes. One out of two suspected killers has previous arrests for gun crimes.

"It's a breakdown of the whole system," Blair says. "Some of these people have had eight, 12, 15 bites of the criminal justice system and they're out there walking the street. We have people out on triple probation. How can you be out on triple probation? No other jurisdiction in the country has ever heard of triple probation. We have the most liberal judges in the city. They have no problem giving people 10 years with time suspended for murder."

The rest of the story can be found at here.