Little Wins Add Up

I made a promise to myself yesterday that I will try to blog/tweet/post everyday. I've been so caught up with our everyday wins that I've forgotten to share them with you all. Yesterday we had a big one. Rickya'h, Diamonta, Dominique, Aniya, and Dayjanae met with the manager of It's Sugar. They were told in advance that he hadn't had great interactions with teens. In fact, once they got there, they learned that no one under the age of 18 is actually allowed in the store because of the difficulties they've had. Below, is a summary Rickya'h and her team wrote up describing the meeting. I want everyone to know that these youth leaders managed this entire interaction without guidance from me. This is 100% them. "On June 30th at 11:30 a.m, four youth leaders--Dominique Joy, Dayjanae Jones, Aniya Marshall, and Diamonta Boyd—and one youth executive leader—Rickya’h Brooks—met with Ryan Seeley—the regional manager of Its Sugar. The meeting was to present The Inner Harbor Project Coupon Card which was created to solve the issue of mistrust between storeowners and teens down the Inner Harbor. In the meeting, we discussed details of the coupon card such as qualifications, deactivation and activation, who the coupon card is for, how it works and what we wish to accomplish with the use of the coupon card. At the end of the meeting, we were able to develop a relationship with Ryan Seeley and convince him to change his store policy of only 18 or older allowed in his store to anyone younger than 18 that has a coupon card or is a part of the Inner Harbor Project. We were also able to come up with an agreed discount of 20% off on any bulk size candy for the coupon card. "

I am in constant awe of these young people and I thought you all should be too.

Diamond and Anthony: Inner Harbor Tour

On a cold and windy October 24, Diamond and Anthony led fellows from Repair the World on their tour of the Inner Harbor. Highlights included:

-Dubai --> Shakespeare Theatre (which clubs are safe and which aren't) -stops at all of the transit centers and a tutorial on what to do when someone won't leave you alone while you're waiting for the bus -and lots more!

From Rickya'h: 
The Inner Harbor Project is back to business and running smoothly. As we progress into another school year, we have also expanded our members. Going from school to school we have recruited many students, making the project 25 students. Now that our headquarters is down the Science Center, we meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:15 to 5:15. During this hour, we explore many things such as discussing ideas, conducting research, expanding our knowledge, and making conclusions. We are progressing fast and exploring many things about the Inner Harbor and youth vs. youth violence and adult vs. youth violence that occurs down the Inner Harbor. We are putting all our effort into making the Inner Harbor a safer place and welcoming for everyone and we will continue to do so until we make a change and a difference in one of the main tourist attractions in Baltimore, the Inner Harbor.

Facing Race Conference

Last week, Diamond sat on a panel to discuss the criminalization of youth in baltimore at the Facing Race Conference. She was one of three panelists, alongside Bakari Jones and Dayvon Love. Her description of the event below:


On Saturday November 17, the Inner Harbor Project had the great pleasure of being apart of the "Facing Race" convention. I had the opportunity to be one of the three speakers in the " Criminalizing Youth In Baltimore : Race, Class & Gender In Public Space " Breakout Session. It was there in this workshop where I had the pleasure of meeting Dayvon Love ( Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle) and Bakari Jones ( Bois Of Baltimore ). I learned that there are people who I can actually relate to and   who actually care about youth. This was a chance to let my voice be heard and make a difference in Baltimore. Overall it was a good experience and way for me to connect with others and share my experiences . This was a good step in the right direction and we will continue to voice our opinions on Baltimore and make a change !

- Diamond  



New Students, New Insights

This morning, I had the pleasure of meeting with Principal Perry at Edmonson West High School. I remember Edmonson back in the day when I was in school being a pretty unruly place. But this fall morning it was in tip-top shape. Mr. Perry, who has been at Edmonson since August, says he sees progress but he's not standing still. After pitching the project, Mr. Perry didn't hesitate: "I'm on board." I have received nearly identical reactions at every high school I've visited. Principal Kyles at Dunbar. Director Caswell at Independence School. And we're just getting started. Wednesday I'm headed to Digital and then next week to Mervo.

When I talk to students about the goals of the IHP, they look at me the way I assume they look at most adults they are trying to give respect to, with cool reserve. They see me as a potential employer and they want the job. But when I ask if they've had an experience in the Inner Harbor with the police, their eyes light up and I know that means there's a story.

I interviewed K last week and he told me he was concerned about media coverage of the events in the Harbor. He thought it was strange that all reports from this last 4th of July boasted no violence. "It's like if there isn't any crime against tourists, then it's not reported." But K told me he took the metro to Charles Center on the 4th and emerged in the midst of an aggressive crowd. "Half the people were yelling East side and half were yelling west. I wasn't yelling nothing but people around me were so I got maced by the police." Experiences like K's create distrust between Baltimore youth and authority figures. K saw himself as an innocent victim that was grouped in with those acting out.

I offer Ks story as one of the less severe stories I've heard. All of the student leaders cope daily with violence in two forms, both systemic and individual. Often the line cannot be drawn between the two; they bleed into each other.