In the midst of very challenging days here in Baltimore, many are wondering about our collective future as a city. But at Associated Black Charities, we are hopeful. Our work on the ground and in the trenches allows us to see a hope that burns bright – one that is birthed from the people of Baltimore. So many of our everyday people, business leaders, faith leaders, professionals, young adults and our seasoned citizens give us hope. We are inspired by the difference they make in their neighborhoods, for their families, for others – for Baltimore.
When citizens, like Duane, step up and become volunteer career mentors they give us hope. We are moved by their determination to help someone else unlock their economic future. Yet even more significant are their “mentees” – the workers themselves who are moving purposefully toward economic gains that benefit their families and beyond. People like Sharon give us hope. Not only does she work for a hotel, but she is working on a college degree and taking computer classes to increase her technology literacy. Her nine year-old son, Jurah, motivates her – he thinks “it’s cool that mom’s in school.”
-Our new partnerships with the Greater Baltimore Committee and the business communitygive us hope for a better Baltimore. Industry leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are identifying career pathways in their companies that move workers into middle-skilled jobs – allowing them to earn 61% more than non-STEM workers while also increasing their opportunities for career advancement.
The over 200 young and seasoned professionals who came with a common agenda to give back to Baltimore give us hope. These professionals committed to our Board Pipeline Leadership Development Project and were trained to serve as board members with nonprofits throughout the region. Professionals like Tracey, who now serves as the board chair of a major children’s organization, can accomplish her goal to change the futures of children who look like her own children.
Advocates, policy makers and lawmakers who believe in Baltimore give us hope. They believe we are better when we listen to the voices of the unheard, and we could not agree more. That is why we support the fight with our policy tools on racial equity and lend our voice to addressing systemic dis-investments in communities of color.
Partner organizations, like Baltimore Community Foundation and the Aspen Institute, give us hope because they too are committed to dismantling structural racism. A business leader among them, who is also a medical doctor and lawyer said, “I need my friends to better understand the challenges of Baltimore – not wring their hands but join the growing ranks of those who understand why change is necessary and how they are a part of that change.”
The residents and community leaders who are taking a stand and demanding a better tomorrow give us hope. Whether from the east or west side of town, their words are the same: “How do we put aside our differences and come together to demand and work for more investment in our communities, for more educational opportunities, workforce trainings, and jobs that deter crime? How do we come together to demand more from ourselves and from our business and political leaders to invest in opportunities for young men and women on our corners?”
Our donors give us hope because of the confidence they place in us to bring about sustainable change! “Now and in the decades ahead, ABC will be an essential partner in bending the trajectory of our city and its residents towards a brighter more just future.” (Ron Daniels, President, Johns Hopkins University)
During this holiday season, regardless of the intense challenges we face, let us not lose sight of the hope among us and the hope in each of the actions we take to bring about a difference in Baltimore. Let us work together to obtain a more economically inclusive city.