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The Power Of Listening: A Turner Station Community Convo

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:  

Going Well:

  • 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

  • Highway accessibility

  • 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

  • Trash

  • Drug dealing

  • 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

  • Rats

  • 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)

  • Underresourced

  • New builds are expensive (and the community itself is not being invested in)

  • Displacement

  • 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:


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 to be connected.   


Together, we can change the future. 




Chrissy M. Thornton

President & CEO

Associated Black Charities

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