UMBC Gender Inclusive Housing

When we first started this project, we knew very little about UMBC’s Gender Inclusive housing option. The information available on it was scarce and outdated. In addition, both our individual experiences and the experiences we’d heard about from others who had applied for Gender Inclusive Housing (GIH) in the past made us concerned for the situation. We’d heard that RAs and those in Living Learning Communities were not allowed to participate in Gender Inclusive Housing. We experienced being assigned an apartment instead of getting to choose where we live like those in standard housing. We were told that someone’s Gender Inclusive Housing application was denied. It seemed to us as though many aspects of the Gender Inclusive housing process were at best, inconvenient, and at worst, outright discriminatory. Continue reading

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The Baltimore Uprising Archive Project

The Baltimore Uprising Archive Project

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The Baltimore Uprising Archive Project is “a digital repository that seeks to preserve and make accessible original content that was captured and created by individual community members, grassroots organizations, and witnesses to the protests that followed the death of Freddie Gray on April 19, 2015.” Denise Meringolo created the archive with almost no resources. Her goal was to document what Baltimoreans were “seeing, and feeling, and doing as part of the protests.” Meringolo’s initial partners were student activists from UMBC, who helped raise money for the site. Maryland Historical Society (MHS) collaborated with Meringolo to collect artifacts from the protests. Meringolo, in partnership with those UMBC students, are perfect examples of historians. We often frame history as entirely retrospective, something that happens entirely separate from that which preceded and followed it. The Archive Project, in contrast, portrays history as something that is constantly ongoing, something that we can study and record as it happens. Continue reading

ISAAC MYERS

ISAAC MYERS

Born in Baltimore(1835), Maryland, the son of free African-American parents. Myers was barred from public education, but he did attend a private day school run by a local clergyman named Rev. John Fortie. Leaving school at sixteen, he served an apprenticeship with Thomas Jackson, a widely-respected African-American ship caulker and then entered the trade himself, becoming by the age of 20 a supervisor, responsible for caulking some of Baltimore’s largest clipper ships. He stayed in the trade for a decade.  Continue reading

Baltimore History: The April Uprising

Baltimore History: The April Uprising

I felt that the uprisings last April were an important incident that happened in Baltimore’s history. It was international news and there were many different ways to hear about it. There were talks on campus with various speakers, the media was reporting on it, and everyone was talking about it. I felt as though there were many different stories being said about what happened and about that area in general. Continue reading

The Charm City Art Space: An Oral History

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Our activist project was to create an oral history of the Charm City Art Space (CCAS), a longstanding Baltimore Do-It-Yourself venue and staple of the local music scene that recently closed down for an indefinite amount of time. Our goal was to interview several different informants with various connections to the space in order produce a short audio segment that gives a narrative history of the art space, including critical reflections on the space and the role it played in the local community.

We began by laying out a general blueprint for the project – we planned out who we wanted to interview, what we would ask them, and how to go about coordinating interview times. We wanted to curate a final product that offers a variety of perspectives in order to offer as unbiased of an account of CCAS’s existence as possible, so we planned to interview informants with various different relationships with the art space. In the end, we were able to interview one of the space’s founding members, one of the more recent members, and a musician who had played and attended shows at the art space throughout its lifetime. We contacted them over email, scheduled a time and place to interview each of them, and conducted and recorded each interview when the time came. After conducting all of the interviews, we set to work listening to each of them and deciding what material we could best use for the final piece. Having worked out a general timeline for the final narrative, we edited the audio into its final form. Our result was hours of raw material neatly condensed into one seventeen-minute audio segment.

ccasshowWe faced a number of challenges throughout our work on the project. For one thing, the logistics of scheduling a multitude of interviews – interviews that necessarily had to be conducted in person and in a space where clear audio could be recorded – were far more difficult to coordinate than we expected. Several of our potential informants simply ghosted us despite multiple attempts at contacting them; other interviews just didn’t work out despite our best efforts. In fact, we scheduled and rescheduled an interview with one informant four different times, and yet conflict arose with every single appointment, and we were never able to complete the interview. All in all, for future endeavors we learned that is is very important to plan as far ahead as possible and leave a good deal of time to coordinate and conduct interviews; had we done this, we might have been able to interview more informants and gather an even more diverse set of perspectives. That being said, the interviews that we were able to conduct ran very smoothly, and we were nonetheless able to create a solid final product and accomplish the core goals we set out for ourselves.

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This project taught us that activism can take a great number of forms. Before we started, we were not even sure that an endeavor such as this was activism at all. The material we read and discussions we had in class helped in part to change our minds on this subject, but the greater lesson came from actually pursuing the project itself. As we researched what we could about the space’s history, we realized there were a number of relevant critical issues woven into the narrative of Charm City Art Space’s history that could be examined. Discussing these issues with our informants felt like activism in and of itself because we learned so much, and we realized that making these dialogues and narratives publicly accessible was in fact an important undertaking. We learned the importance of simply providing other people with the resources and opportunities to make their voices heard, as we did with this project in coordinating, recording, and publishing these interviews. By helping to lift these voices, we have enabled other people to listen to and learn from them, just as we did.

via Lane Kennedy and James Callahan

Listen to the final audio piece here.

Photo credits to Phil Hiotus, Kate Frese and Farrah Skeiky

Pay Equity Bake Sale

The issue I chose to focus on was the existence of the gender pay gap. The pay gap is simply workers getting paid differently based on simply their race, gender, or sexual orientation despite doing work of the same quality and quantity. The effort began with just focusing on gender but the issue exists on so many different levels that it would not feel right leaving out so many others who face injustice. To define it simply, foxlarger every dollar a man makes, women makes only 79 cents. Looking at more specific demographics it’s determined that white males can be the focal point and every other race, gender, or sexual orientation makes a fraction of what white males make, with Asian males as the exception making $1.13 for every dollar white males make. Continue reading