“Good afternoon, the Central Baltimore Partnership Partners meeting is through the entrance, past the double doors.” Like a mantra, I chant the same sentence over and over again as individuals glide past me and enter the Lovely Lane United Methodist Church in anticipation of our recent announcement.

Wednesday, July 13th officially marked the announcement of Central Baltimore Partnership’s Wells Fargo National Pilot Program, a yearlong survey and implementation process to develop a set of concrete recommendations for the Homewood Community Partners Initiative. Funded by Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, the Equitable Development project (the name, as of now, is still being decided on by community leaders) gives Central Baltimore Partnership the opportunity to incorporate resident perceptions of the neighborhood and identified areas of concern into development efforts that have been taking place within the area. My recent conversations with CBP partners and anchor institution representatives have suggested that the both the accumulated data and the strengthening of community-non-profit relations will be crucial in carrying out an effective implementation process (as it largely dictates the areas of concern that will be focused on in subsequent focus group meetings).

Realistically, the process of administering a neighborhood survey is cumbersome, and my CBP coworkers and I have already stumbled across a number of pressing issues- access to residences, communication with the randomly selected households, multi-unit families, grant restrictions, incentives for survey administrators, and so on. More than that, other local organizations are targeting the same residential neighborhoods, and the high number of different canvassing efforts and survey processes disincentives many residents from responding favorably to a 20 minute long surveying process. In addition to that, neighborhood dynamics may have shifted in response to the recent onslaught of police-related deaths. With less than a week left to put together a comprehensive plan for our neighborhood surveying process (which will occur this upcoming Saturday on July 23rd, coinciding with Baltimore Pride), we are a little concerned with being able to recruit a sufficient number of volunteers. Nevertheless, we have high hopes that the surveying process will turn out to be successful, even if our initial yield may not be as high as we would have initially anticipated.


I never thought much of that person at the door, on the corner, outside the grocery store clipboard in hand and righteous t-shirt displaying their cause. The petitioner. The annoying and in-your-face person that most ignore. Why? Many think they are asking for some sort of donation, maybe trying to get you to buy something, and some might be. I’m not a solicitor though. I don’t ask for anyone’s money or demand the license to their soul. I simply ask for a signature. One signature that will amount to 10,000 signatures, all as important as the last. I give someone the option to make a difference, make a change in a system that often times seems to large and fluid in its function that it is impossible to change its course. I offer someone power, a voice, a chance to make a change...yet, I am still that annoying and in-your-face person that everyone would rather ignore. It is ironic how people run from me and ignore me when I offer them so much. I have learned to honor the petitioner. The one who sweats from head to toe from when the sun comes up to when the moon comes out. The one who kills their feet for the better of others in the service of others. I will now open every door, stop at every corner, and call them over outside of every grocery store. I will honor the petitioner, for I have learned the respect they deserve as I sweat through my tennis shoes and righteous t-shirt.