Job & Workforce development
The city burned.
On Tuesday, april 28th I was in downtown Baltimore, intentionally. I saw prayer circles, peaceful protest, a city seeking to restore and rebuild. Neighbor helping neighbor, including our neighbors throught out the state. Bsuiness calling in, “How can I help?”
Yes, a lot of clean up is occurring, but we need to incorporate changes that will provide long-term improvement and economic sustainability.
We need to address the inherent social issues that are cuase of this situation, we need to disrupt the cuases of this situation. We need to be invested and committed, sustainably, long-term. No fireworks, no flash support that diminishes within months.
You have control and influence in every point of the economic spectrum. With your personal income, by dining out… Go a restaurant, tavern, museum. Invest in your city by spending your money there.
As a business owner, you have greater influence; introduce local suppliers and vendors into you’re your procurement sector. Accept a price differently, knowing you are supporting local jobs. And by generating & supporting local jobs, your funds come back, full circle, when these locals buy your product or service.
Additionally you would be providing job opportunities for youth in our city, consider participating in Baltimore City YouthWork programs, offer internships so valuable hands-on experience is available to the kids. Retaining local talent is paramount to improving economic equality. Kudos to McCormick for choosing to stay in Maryland, that’s +++++++++so jobs!!
We all have marketing budgets for events, I would chanllenge you to become more strategic and flex your social responsibility muscle. Support the organizations that are driving true economic change and a widespread ripple effect. For instance, Big Brotheres Big Sister of Greater Chesapeake has a one-to-one mentoring match process that alters a kid’s future- and blessedly this week alone, has seen a 3000% increase in inquiries. But, money is needed to cover the increased activity, the background checks, case managers, etc.
Consider Open Society-Baltimore, for the last 17 years has been intimately involved in the root cuases of social justice, work that takes time and research, but instrumenstal in improving the lives of Baltimoreans.
My expectations is not that you cease your for-profit venture, but rather we build a stronger partnership within the Public, Private and Foundation sectors. Lead by example and become involved, Monica Mitchell and young mother of 2 boys, began a movement. Unable to sleep, at 330am Tuesday April 28th, she and her brother, Jason Butler, agreed to meet on Pennsylvania & North Avenues, armed with…. A Broom. “It looked like a war zone and the mess was overwhelming. But then we picked up a piece of trash. And then another. Broom sweep by broom sweep clearing glass out of the intersection so that people going to work wouldn’t get flat tires. Clearing trash so that the bus stop and subway entrance looked clean. Picking up charred remnants so that the burned out CVS somehow looked loved.
Soon one corner was clean. Then, amazingly police officers started picking up the trash around them. And a few journalists held bags for us as we dumped our shovels full of trash. And then one by one, neighbors who saw us on the early morning news came down with their brooms and trash bags too! Next the Dept.of Parks and Recs trucks came and we started loading trash on the trucks. Soon the street sweepers came too. But we all had already made their work so much easier. Crystal, whom I met because she saw us on the news and came out of her North Ave home decided to help pick up the pieces, using the morning of her birthday to help serve others.
And that’s the story of Baltimore, of US. We are supposed to help where there is need and we should not wait to be asked. The need is mentoring, jobs to students and non-violent ex-offenders. The need is saying good morning to a stranger, an officer stooping down to pick up a piece of trash on the street or picking up a prescription for a neighbor. The need is realizing that we all can abundantly give of ourselves to help our neighbor without fear that nothing will be left for us. Life always makes a way for those who help others. At 4am, there was only a handful of people, hoping to make a difference in the midst of chaos. By 7pm tonight, thousands had come out to help clean up, neighbors hugging and laughing, drumlines were playing and children dancing in the street where fire burned just 24 hours before. I witnessed the most beautiful sunrise over Pennsylvania Ave. when I was out cleaning up this morning. The is hope and there’s Love and there are people ready to do the work in Baltimore.”