As Maryland residents commemorate Black History Month, what’s being called the racial reckoning of 2020 is barely in the rearview mirror. The Baltimore Sun asked residents to respond in short essays: What will it take to move the region ahead in 2021 and beyond?
Janice Moorehead Grant, 87, is a former Harford County NAACP president, retired teacher, minister. "I think we all need to get to know each other — we need to value every human being,"
(Bobby Parker/Baltimore Sun Media Group) Ellington West
Ellington West is the founder and CEO of Sonavi Labs Inc.
In her essay,
writes how she is working to improve residents' health through affordable and accessible technology.
Listen to West read her essay: (Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun) Dr. Danita Tolson
Dr. Danita Tolson, 51, is the president, Baltimore County NAACP, chair, Coppin State University’s undergraduate nursing program. In this essay,
writes about the need for equitable education and and addressing racial disparities within Baltimore County’s police department.
(Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media) Lawrence Brown
Lawrence Brown, 42, is the director of the Black Butterfly Academy.
, who recently published a book titled “The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America,” writes in his essay about the need for Baltimore to address the lasting impacts of segregation.
(SHAN Wallace) Kelli McCallum
Kelli McCallum, 45, is the lead nurse practitioner,operational field manager at MedStar Health’s mobile unit.
writes about the importance of reaching people in their own communities as a healthcare worker and working to gain their trust.
Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, 67, is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. "The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has established a $1 million reparations seed fund. We’re repairing the damage of previous generations," writes
(Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun) Shashawnda Campbell
Shashawnda Campbell, 23, is a member of the South Baltimore Community Land Trust.
In her essay,
advocates for environmental justice.
Listen to Campbell read her essay: (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun) Iman Earl El-Amin
Earl El-Amin, 69, is the resident imam of the Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore and vice president of the National Centers on Institutions and Alternatives. "I believe the solutions lie in doing more of what we at the mosque have been doing for years: reaching across divisions of race and faith to feed the hungry, to build strong neighborhoods, to develop stronger families," says
(Kenneth K. Lam) Al Hutchinson
Al Hutchinson, 61, is the president & CEO of Visit Baltimore. "When Black individuals from Baltimore and beyond feel seen and celebrated throughout the entire city, we can put Charm City on the map as one of the most inclusive destinations in America,"
(Allan Charles) Armon Wilson
Armon Wilson, 19, is a Columbia resident, security guard, and hopeful future police officer. In this essay,
writes about wanting to become a police officer in order to improve dialogue between African Americans and law enforcement.
(Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun) Janese Murray
Janese Murray, 64, is the founder and president of Inclusion Impact Consulting. "Until we own up to our history of systemic racism as a city and as a nation, our ability to truly move forward is limited,"
(SHAUN ANTHONY WILLIAMS/Shaun Anthony Williams, Clear Focus Photography and Video) Kurt L. Schmoke
Kurt Schmoke, 71, is the president of the University of Baltimore and the first African American elected mayor of Baltimore. "A commitment to lifelong learning is what will make a positive difference in the lives of those living and working in Baltimore,"
(Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun) Omer Reshid
Omer Reshid, 19, is a former student member of the Baltimore County Board of Education, a member of the Baltimore County Work Group on Equitable Policing, and a freshman at George Washington University
In his essay,
calls for people to work to improve their communities.
Listen to Reshid read his essay: (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun) Monalisa Diallo
Monalisa Diallo, 55, is a Mondawmin resident, a health and nutrition activist, and a community farms and garden advocate. In her essay,
tells others they have the right to stand up and say, "I want a healthy community."
(Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun) Ajmel Quereshi
Ajmel Quereshi, 39, is the senior counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., and leads LDF’s efforts in Bradford v. Maryland State Board of Education. In this essay,
writes about the importance of addressing the digital divide, especially in order to make access to education more equitable.
Dana P. Moore
Dana P. Moore, 63, is Baltimore’s first chief equity officer and the first woman to serve as Baltimore City solicitor. "My intent is to use the messages of 2020 to inform the many decisions to truly make Baltimore a more equitable municipality," writes
(Mark Dennis) MarTaze Gaines
MarTaze “Taz” Gaines, 24, is the project coordinator of 24+None, Maryland Office of the Public Defender. In this essay,
writes about the importance of prioritizing the needs of young people of color and treating them with care and dignity.
(courtesy of MarTaze Gaines) Oyin Adedoyin
Oyin Adedoyin, 21, is a student at Morgan State University as well as an editor for MSU Spokesman, the college newspaper. "We can keep making changes by investing in Black youth, by providing more culture centers, good public education and health systems,"
(Edoghogho Ugiagbe/Edoghogho Ugiagbe) Wordsmith
Wordsmith (Anthony Parker), 41, is a hip-hop artist and the artistic partner for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
In his essay,
urges residents to become role models by starting businesses and organizations.
Listen to Wordsmith read his essay: (Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun) Perry Jones
Union Bridge Mayor Perry Jones is the first Black mayor and county commissioner in Carroll’s history. "I think it’s very important that generations today get to know more about the African-American community and what they went through growing up back in the early 1900s and during the days of slavery,"
(Jeffrey F. Bill) Carl Snowden
Carl Snowden, 67, is the former director of civil rights in the Maryland Attorney General’s Office and convener of the Annapolis Caucus of African American Leaders. In his essay,
describes his consortium's campaign for equity in the media.
(Capital Gazette / BSMG / Capital Gazette) Nneka N'namdi
Nneka N'namdi, 43, is the Director of Community Development for the Living Well Center for Social and Economic Vibrancy, creator of Fight Blight Bmore, a member of the Mayor's Subcommittee for Business, Workforce and Neighborhood Development and the Trauma Informed Care Taskforce. "My lived experience and research shows that racism in public policy has damaged Black neighborhoods and disproportionately harmed Black residents wherever we may live," writes