The 2016 cohort of OSI Community Fellows gathered at Nancy by SNAC in Station North last night to mark the end of their 18 month Fellowship and discuss their progress as they rotate into the Community Fellows Network.

Each of the 10 Fellows briefly presented on their Fellowship and their plans moving forward, and then each Fellow presided over a table with materials related to their Fellowship while visitors mingled among the tables to learn more. In the picture above, taken by 2016 Fellow Jermaine Bell, Nancy owner Kevin Brown and OSI Community Fellowships Director Pamela King, show off some of Bell’s stationary (available here.)

A recurring theme of the comments was the love and appreciation for King, who has been directing the Fellowships program since it started 20 years ago. Cinder Hypki, a member of the founding cohort of OSI Community Fellows in 1998, shared the following “Ode” to King with the Fellows Network for a celebration marking her 20th anniversary with OSI last month.

An Ode to Pamela King
March 21, 2018

Maya Angelou must have just met you, Pamela, when she once said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Pamela, you have always made me feel that my work was important. That my voice mattered. That the stumbles and blips along the road of my fellowship were just part of the learning experience (they were), and that however difficult or disappointing at times, I was meant to pick myself up, dust myself off, and grow from it. You’ve always made me feel that the process was the most important thing. If I helped my kids in the Green Team and the Mosaic Art Crew feel like you made me feel, then there wasn’t anything they couldn’t do, and that was the whole point.

That is you, Pamela – pragmatic, unflappable and grounded as the day is long — like the very best of community organizers– with a deep river of encouragement and a strong vision of social justice running through every interaction I’ve ever had with you or witnessed you having with others. Pragmatic and visionary, you give us all roots and wings. What a combo! I really have not met a more balanced spirit than you, and feel grateful for all the time we’ve spent working together – back into the early days.

Pamela, you are a true mentor and champion of your fellows, and a supreme networker. You have been the very human face of OSI to so many of us, and a great reminder to keep it all real. Part mother hen (without the suffocating, overly fussy thing!), part Fierce advocate (without the strident thing!), part emcee of the OSI Oscars (without the self-aggrandizing thing!)… you have enriched my fellowship, my work since then, and my life overall.

I’m amazed that it’s been 20 years since my fellowship, but I’m not surprised that just last week at the dedication of the Harriet Tubman grove in Wyman Park, I Find you there, at the Jubilee Arts youth entrepreneur booth doing the same thing you did for me 20 years ago: engaging. There you were, showing sincere interest, interacting with the young people, asking questions, being an encouraging presence… you are the youngest, most spirited “Elder” I know – in the best sense of the word, and I’m grateful for your example as I work to mentor young artists and activists.

There are very few people, in my mind, who have positively changed the life of my city as a whole in the 30 years I have lived here in Baltimore. Pamela, you are one of them. Word. How lucky we fellows are to have you in our corner! How fortunate is Baltimore! I am profoundly grateful, “Miss Pam”, and I wish for you all the best as you forge ahead.

With love, admiration and great respect,

Posted in Baltimore Justice Report