On Saturday evening, November 19, 2016, I joined other supporters and members of the No Boundaries Coalition of Central West Baltimore to celebrate their first 8 years as a growing and fruitful community organization. In addition to celebrating past achievements, the evening also launched the organization’s first Annual Fundraising Drive. Based solely on the attendance, enthusiasm, and support shown for this event, I call it a resounding success! The event was held at The Kappa House on Eutaw Place. Hosting the program was Marc Steiner, from The Marc Steiner Show on WEAA. Throughout the evening of dining and conversation, and between featured speakers, The Todd Marcus Trio provided a smooth background of jazz to the festivities, while videos of No Boundaries’ programs and activities were projected on a wall. Attendees were an astonishing cross-section of Baltimore City—from West Baltimore to Roland Park, Harbor East to Ednor Gardens, and beyond.
The Featured Speakers were Ronald Wiech, Dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law, and Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore State’s Attorney. Leaders of the No Boundaries Coalition, including Ray Kelly, Ashiah Parker, Rebecca Nagle, and Tiffany Welch, talked about the “humble” beginnings of the organization: Starting as an annual community block party (http://www.noboundariescoalition.com/our-work/boundary-block-party/), organizers and community members began to seek more ways to be of service. Listening campaigns led to a focus on several key areas of concern: police—community relations, youth leadership development, and the urban food desert. By partnering with other organizations, and expanding on their own initiatives, No Boundaries has developed concrete, sustainable results for its community in all these key areas.
The most far-reaching achievement has been its report on police misconduct: Over-Policed, Yet Underserved: The People’s Findings Regarding Police Misconduct in West Baltimore, which was cited by the Department of Justice in its findings after investigating policing in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death. Equally important, however, is the direct impact No Boundaries has made with the Baltimore Youth Organizing Project, which has made inroads into policy-making for Baltimore City government, and the Fresh At the Avenue produce stall at the Avenue Market, which provides fresh, affordable produce to West Baltimore residents and is in the process of expanding the availability of produce to corner stores.
I, for one, am in awe of what No Boundaries has accomplished! As a lifelong resident of Baltimore, with my own roots tied to the communities it serves, the success of No Boundaries gives me hope that other parts of the City I love can also start to rebuild from the ground up, and to restore Baltimore as the City of Neighborhoods.
To learn more about the impact of the No Boundaries Coalition in Baltimore, here are some links to articles and a television spot that have appeared in Baltimore:
March 19, 2016 article by Lorraine Mirabella in the Baltimore Sun http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-five-minutes-with-tiffany-welch-20160319-story.html
May 6, 2015 television spot/article on WMAR TV Baltimore http://www.abc2news.com/news/region/baltimore-city/no-boundaries-aims-to-make-baltimore-better
Feature about Rebecca Nagle, from StrongCityBaltimore https://www.strongcitybaltimore.org/tag/no-boundaries-coalition/
And for more direct information, please go to http://www.noboundariescoalition.com/