“Notes from the Field” Summer edition – June 15, 2023

Welcome to the summer edition of “Notes from the Field.” We are thrilled to present a new edition filled with updates, highlights, and valuable information about opportunities and community events taking place throughout the summer as well as highlighting recent past events from fellows.

Tisha Guthrie an organizer with Baltimore Renters United, member of the Inclusionary Housing Coalition, and secretary of the Poppleton Now Community Association. As a fellow Tisha developed the Bringing Our Community Joy (BOC Joy) project to address the trauma in Baltimore neighborhoods through providing space for collective joy. Her third Community Soundstage–reclaiming vacant lots for community celebration–is now Thursday, June 29 in the Waverly neighborhood. Please spread the word and connect Tisha with any organizations in the waverly area: [email protected]  

📣 Through the Assembling Voices Fellowship, Incite at Columbia awards artists, activists, organizers, workers, and others $25,000 in support of innovative public programming.

Your community, your vision, our support. Assembling Voices is a Fellowship for artists, writers, scholars, journalists, performers, activists, workers, and others with compelling ideas for public initiatives that advance our mission—catalyzing conversations that lead to more just, equitable, and democratic societies.

Applications due June 30, 2023. For more info see: https://incite.columbia.edu/assembling-voices 


Betty’s community organizing was featured in a recent news story in the Baltimore Banner by Clara Longo de Freitas, “Sharp-Leadenhall residents push back on zoning change to allow apartment complex.” Both Community Fellows Betty and Tisha Guthrie were quoted in the article and are working across the city to pass an Inclusionary Housing Law in Baltimore.

Bland-Thomas invites everyone to Summer Music Tuesdays, a partnership between Joyful Noise Baltimore and the Historic Sharp Leadenhall Community. Held near senior housing, all generations are welcome to enjoy vibrant music and fun. The series represents the partners’ unwavering commitment to restoring Historic Sharp Leadenhall’s rich heritage and igniting a brighter future. Come join the celebration.

Upcoming Events in Sharp Leadenhall:

Historic Sharp Leadenhall Community Meetings are held the last Thursday of every month, next meeting June 29th from 6pm to 7:30pm at Martini Lutheran Church 100 W. Henrietta St. from – Guest speaker from MOED office Mr. Mark Hooper

Historic Sharp Leadenhall is hosting its first in series Lecture called “A Slice of Historic Sharp Leadenhall.” Our focus is to tell the stories of the rich History and Culture of Afro-Americans from 1700-1800’s in our communities. Sunday, July 9th from 2pm to 3:30pm in the Old Otterbein Church 112 W. Conway. Guest Speakers Eric Holcomb Executive Director of CHAP and Rev. Bonnie McCubbin of Old Otterbein Church will share some of the rich history of the church, which is 252 years old.

Next Outdoor Concert sponsored by Joyful Noise and Historic Sharp Leadenhall is Tuesday, July 18th at 6:30pm at Hanover Square Apts. 1 W. Conway Street. 


Maroonteenth is Black Yield Institute’s celebration of freedom in its many shapes and forms. Rather than live in bondage, maroons risked their lives. 

The Maroonteenth event commemorates our ancestors who escaped slavery to establish their own settlements and define freedom for themselves. Black Yield carries on Maroon energy in all of their work and Fellow Eric Jackson invites all to join in celebrating what the Maroons accomplished and paying tribute to what they sacrificed.

This year’s theme is the Harlem Renaissance! There will be a 1920s dance contest, a best-dressed contest, and delicious soulful food and drinks.

Also, BYI encourages people to buy a ticket and donate it to someone who wants to attend but doesn’t have the money.

You can buy your ticket here


Saturday, August 5th | 12:00 – 8:00PM | Inner Harbor Amphitheater @ Light St. & Pratt St. For info here.

Yesenia Mejia Herrera is an interdisciplinary artist, activist, mother, and educator from Oaxaca, Mexico, based in Baltimore, MD since 2008.Taking after her grandfather, Yesenia developed a love for music that has evolved into an art form of its own by learning to sing in Tacuate language, honoring her grandfather and the Tacuate community.

Amidst the homogenization of Latinx cultures and absences of indigeneity in Baltimore’s Latinx community, it is important to Yesenia to create content that values Indigenous knowledge and wisdom and that allow these traditions to be transmitted to future generations. As a visual artist, her art is committed to build community and enhance the transformative beauty of Latin American culture. She does much of this work through her role as Director of Creative Alliance’s CIELO (Creative Immigrants of Latin America Origins) Department where she co-creates opportunities for growth, education, and a sharing of culture through projects like,  “Artesanas”, “Jovenes en Acción”, “Artesanitos”, “Tianquiztli” among others. She is a current fellow of BFS 2.0 and received the Mayor’s Hispanic Heritage Award for best Educator and Annual Community Service Award by the Latino Provider’s Network in 2021.

UMBC Fellow Annie Byrd announces the Community Leadership program at UMBC will have a table at the Baltimore by Baltimore event on July 1, and August 5.

An Invitation to Participate in Research Study about Baltimore Schools

Do you have experiences with K-12 Baltimore schools? Do you have priorities and dreams about what the schools in your community can be and do? Do you know your neighborhood well, and want to share it with others? We invite you to share your thinking with our research team.

The Imaging Research Center (IRC) recently received a UMBC grant to validate a virtual reality (VR) environment for future teachers to learn the multiplicity of factors that impact the achievement of elementary school students. The Systems Engagement and Exploration environment (SEEe), a VR system developed by the IRC, is designed to represent multiple data types in multiple ways (graphs, videos, conceptual diagrams) simultaneously. This project supports novice teachers in orienting to the array of factors shaping literacy teaching and learning. 

We plan to collect qualitative data by inviting students, teachers, families, and community members to record interviews or self-made videos of their perspectives on schools and their relationship with communities. We also hope to include some “guided tours” of neighborhoods, mapping local community assets relevant to education. The goal of this project is to build pre-service teachers’ awareness of the communities in which they teach. We want our students to learn by listening to and learning from students, families, and community members, and to prepare them to continue to cultivate these relationships. This supports an asset-based and culturally responsive approach to teaching and learning, drawing on the funds of knowledge that already exist in school communities, rather than one that defines communities by their deficits.

If you are interested in participating or want to recommend someone we should connect with or ask to participate, please reach out to UMBC Fellow Amy Tondreau at [email protected]

Late Spring/Early summer highlights (past events)

Fellow Betty Bland Thomas recognized by the Neighborhood Design Center with an Award for Community Advocacy! The event took place at the Annual Awards and Volunteer Celebration held on June 3rd in Mount Rainier in Prince George’s County MD. Congratulations Betty!

Fellow Betty Bland-Thomas also hosted a Community Meeting of the Historic Sharp Leadenhall Neighborhood on May 25th at Martini Lutheran Church to discuss the exciting neighborhood initiatives as well as joyful and engaging summer plans for residents of all ages. 

Fellow Curtis Eaddy II 

Sowebo Festival – Curtis Eaddy II curated the Beautiful Side of Ugly stage and performed on Sunday, May 28. Congratulations Curtis! https://www.sowebofest.org/music

Curtis Eaddy II and Yesenia Mejia Herrera participated in the 11th International Digital Storytelling Conference “Radical Listening: Story Work for a Just Future” at UMBC on Tuesday, June 20.

For more info on the Baltimore Field School see: https://baltimorefieldschool.org/

OUR BIG SUMMER GATHERING – BFS 2.0 Summer Institute: July 17 – July 21

We will be contacting UMBC and Community Fellows to share the BFS 2.0 Schedule for July 14 – 21, 2023. Dean Kimberly Moffitt will welcome and kick off our week-long field school on the first day with UMBC Fellows & Community Fellows. We wanted to share a public event Confronting Lies: Controlling Our Narratives organized by Community Fellow Lisa Snowden at Red Emma’s on Wednesday, July 18. Register here and please spread the word.

We hope everyone is having a good summer.

The BFS Team