OSI-Baltimore sadly notes the passing of Avis Ransom, a 2002 Community Fellow, whose program, Income and Equality for All, sought to engage low wage and unemployed citizens in the process of creating and implementing innovative workforce solutions including worker cooperatives to increase their economic stability.
An anti-racism consultant and workshop facilitator for Baltimore Racial Justice Action, Avis was also board member for the Job Opportunities Task Force, the Baltimore Algebra Project, and Baltimore Workforce Investment Board, and a member of the Coordinating Committee for the Baltimore Black Worker Center. She was, by all accounts, a force – both as a mentor and as a member of her communities – who influenced, touched, and inspired many, including OSI-Baltimore Director Danielle Torain.
“For me, and for so many, Avis was a teacher and mentor, a fierce champion and protector, a way-maker, spirit guide and tireless advocate for a racially just and liberated future,” said Torain. “Avis’ transition is such a profound loss for our community and for Baltimore. But I am certain that she rests in peace knowing that she’s made such a deep and lasting impression on countless people, young and old. We will all continue to carry her legacy, vision, and teachings with pride, determination, and the same perseverance and commitment that she modeled till the very end. Avis, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow shared tributes to Ransom on the Fellows listserv.
“She was a giant, and I benefited enormously from her example and her advice,” said 2007 Fellow Miriam Avins, who worked with Avis on the Baltimore Sustainability Commission. “She is leaving a hole on the Commission and in Baltimore – and a wonderful legacy through BRJA and in many other ways.”
“She provided mentoring for me years ago and helped me develop professionally and personally,” said 2002 Fellow Jacqueline Robarge, founder of Power Inside. “Her brilliance, wisdom, and commitment to justice will be truly missed!”
Cinder Hypki, a member of the first cohort of OSI Fellows, in 1998, said Avis was “one of the most remarkable people I’ve met here in the past 30 years.” She expressed gratitude for Ransom’s BRJA teaching and example. “That training so influenced my life’s path as a white person. It is another reason to love my city, knowing that she is here and will live on in her teachings.”
Pamela King, Direct of OSI’s Community Fellows Program added a tribute of her own: “She was a trailblazer and we are all better for her contributions to community.”