To All Who Are Concerned,
Associated Black Charities (ABC) acknowledges structural racism's effect on the racial wealth gap, workplace discrimination, health inequity, disparities in housing policies and practices, educational inequality, discriminating and dehumanizing laws and policies, and more. ABC’s mission is to eliminate structural barriers and advance long-term solutions that create new opportunities for African Americans to thrive. Using an equity framework as a convener and thought leader to end race-based barriers that impede African Americans from having an opportunity to succeed is at the heart of all of ABC's initiatives.
We value our role as connectors in the Greater Baltimore community and feel that we are uniquely positioned to set the table for communication and positive exchange among all of the stakeholders that want Baltimore to be better.
We understand that empowerment must be included in racial equity work as it helps to uplift and support our communities of color, giving them a voice and a role in shaping the solutions to the challenges they face. We feel that the work is about creating conditions that allow individuals and communities to have control over their own lives and to shape the systems and institutions that impact them.
When individuals and communities are empowered, they are better able to identify and address their own needs, and to advocate for their rights and interests.
On Tuesday, October 24, 2023, ABC joined the Turner Station community at Friendship Baptist Church to ensure the community’s voice is amplified, and that their experiences and perspectives are shared in a way that gives both attention and visibility to their issues and causes. It is our commitment to provide a platform for community voices to be heard and valued. The community is comprehensive of all stakeholders concerned about happenings in Turner Station.
In our goal to help create and foster greater collaboration, cooperation, and effective solutions; we partnered with the Pastor Donald Jones and the Friendship Baptist Church family.
We convened residents, community organizations, faith leaders, government representatives, and other stakeholders at the church. Stakeholders were invited to discuss their work and bring forward community resources and the floor was opened for dialogue about what is going well in the community, and issues that need to be addressed with collaborative attention.
In addition to community residents and Friendship Baptist Church leadership, notable attendees included community and organizational representatives from FOCUS, Baltimore City Council President’s Office, Baltimore County Executive Office, Baltimore City Housing, Conservation, Henrietta Lacks Legacy, 13 Acres, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Fleming Senior Center, and Girl Scouts.
What ABC Heard:
Volume of Talented Individuals in the Community
Hometown feeling that carries a lot of pride
Residents feel welcomed, loved, and joy
Slow change (but change is happening)
A lot of positive work done by residents
Collaborative community groups and people who are working together
Jobs surrounding the community
Proud community and members are committed to its well being
New jobs coming into the community
Local McDonald’s allows kids to eat for free (as an incentive for kids to do well in school)
Additional parking provided at the community center, handicap accessible doors installed, windows opened so that residents can have a view of the water
New homes going up (not affordable but adding value to the community)
Location - accessible to Baltimore City and Towson
Tradepoint Atlantic - provides jobs
Community is full of love and support
13 Acres (Urban Revitalization) - Buses to transport residents around the state
AKA - two scholarships Henrietta Lacks (young women in STEM) and an art scholarship. Must reside in Turner Station or do volunteer work there. Currently seeking applications
FOCUS: Free IT training/certification program, also purchases dilapidated home and allow students to purchase homes through staffing agency that the students own
Needs To Be Addressed:
Need a new community center and spaces for residents to convene
Developers coming into the community to make a profit
Need a real strategy to revitalize the community
Surveying Accessors taking over communities (taking photos properties)
Unable to maintain the land
Need to do in-house work (community plan and then put it into action)
Need more food options in the community (Food Desert)
Better quality of life for residents
Foundations coming into community
Younger leadership needed to lead community efforts
People come into Turners Station to change the vision of the community without taking residents into consideration
Need for increased senior care
Need for positive community figures in the neighborhood to guide youth
Push youth to jobs at TradePoint Atlantic instead of “selling products” on the corner
Lack of information and communication (resources and opportunities or being shared)
Community members need to work together more
Drugs have devastated community and wiped out the men
More women working than men
Blight in the community (vacant homes). There is a need for more programs and processes to deal with blight
Property owners not taking responsibility for property (Day Village) and family homes just being left and are not being taken care of
Creation of a registry that lets people know what houses are available to decrease blight in the community
In-fighting within the community
Need to do better job at telling the story, sharing resources, and strategic plan
Better communication channels - social media to attract younger audience
Homes in the community are no longer affordable to community members - need for more grants and incentives for home buying
Grant $ for flooding is needed
Need more community input on changes being made
No developer to invest in basic needs
Surveys for flooding and air quality (need more residents to participate and offer their opinion)
New builds are expensive (and the community itself is not being invested in)
Trending towards residents not being able to afford their homes – rent cost are extremely high
Day Village - people living in horrible conditions
People losing homes for inability to pay taxes
Community members are being outbid on properties for purchase
Infrastructure (storm drains, flooding, run off, tides/currents)
Residents would like more collective action and collaboration from faith leaders
“Flop” houses that people come out of daily and residents are not sure what they are doing. Get in and out of a van each day. Take mattresses in and out of the houses
Crosswalks need to be marked and increased traffics signals added.
Homebuyer education is needed
Lack of transportation
Seniors have to catch “hacks” and Ubers to get around (difficult on a fixed income)
Access Photos from this Community Convo: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjB2MZ5
Associated Black Charities is calling to action all stakeholders with resources to shore up the things that are going well in the Central West Baltimore community, and to take immediate action toward supporting the resolution of the community issues identified.
If you are an agency, a business, a community member, or other entity that can assist, please contact Associated Black Charities at email@example.com to be connected.
Together, we can change the future.
Chrissy M. Thornton
President & CEO
Associated Black Charities