OSI’s three anniversary events in 2018 featured a variety of speakers, performers and activists who energized the audience and made us hopeful for positive change throughout the Baltimore region. These events were supported by our sponsors, T. Rowe Price, John Meyerhoff MD and Lenel Srochi-Meyerhoff, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. WYPR was the media sponsor. All photos by Colby Ware.
Bold Thinking on Racial Justice in America
June 13, 2018
Keynote speakers Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and OSI Advisory Board member, had a conversation about ways to advance racial justice using the judiciary despite the Trump administration’s attempts to roll back previous gains.
Dr. Lawrence Brown (left photo, with OSI Advisory Board member Veronica Cool) and Dr. Leana Wen (right photo) both received “Bold Thinker” awards. Dr. Brown is an associate professor at Morgan State University known for his “White L vs. Black Butterfly” framework for talking about segregation in Baltimore, and Dr. Wen is the former health commissioner for the Baltimore City Health Department, now the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Brion Gill (left photo), a poet and 2015 OSI Community Fellow, opened the night by performing a poem called “Two Baltimores.”. Baltimore Dance Crews Project (right photo) performed their Baltimore Ceasefire-inspired piece “Call on Me.” The group was founded by 2015 OSI Community Fellow Brian Gerardo.
Making Sure Every Person Counts: The Census, Advocacy, and Civic Participation
September 25, 2018
“Democracy only works when every voice is heard, that’s why the census matters,” said Rashad Robinson (left photo), executive director of Color of Change, who talked about his organization’s efforts to organize in advance of the 2020 census. Barbara Mikulski (right photo), professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins University and former U.S. Senator representing Maryland, talked about the importance of the 2020 census. “Eighty-five percent of federal funds for Baltimore are based on formulas from the census,” she said.
Drummer (left photo), educator, and 2015 OSI Community Fellow Menes Yahudah performed at the event with a few of his students. Ray Kelly (right photo – second from left), former president of the No Boundaries Coalition, and Caryn York (right photo – second from right), executive director of the Job Opportunities Task Force, received the “Strategic Action” awards for their tireless and effective advocacy on behalf of Baltimore communities. Pictured with OSI Advisory Board members Jamar Brown (right photo – left) and Joe Jones, who presented them with their awards.
Challenges to Open Societies Around the World
October 30, 2018
OSI Advisory Board members James DeGraffenreidt, Jr. and Veronica Cool, who both served on the Community Fellows Selection Committee, congratulated the 2018 class of Fellows, (from left to right) Brittany Young, Fred Watkins, Emily Thompson, Aarti Sidhu, Ava Pipitone, Shelley Halstead, Jennay Ghowrwal, Eric Fishel, Ciera Daniel and Graham Coreil-Allen.
When we met the 20 finalists for this year’s cohort, hearing their innovative ideas, seeing their passion, it made us feel very, very inspired about the future of our city.
—OSI Advisory Board member Veronica Cool, who served on the Fellows Selection Committee
Patrick Gaspard, the president of The Open Society Foundations and former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, talked about threats to democracy around the world (top photo). Mayor Catherine E. Pugh presents OSI Advisory Board member Ava Lias-Booker with a mayoral citation thanking OSI for 20 years of service to the people of Baltimore (bottom left photo). Maria Broom, a 2004 OSI Community Fellow who is a storyteller, dancer and educator, opened the event with a story and dance about why the sky is so far away (bottom right photo).
OSI Advisory Board member (left photo) Alicia Wilson (left) sits with her mentor Lois Feinblatt (right), a therapist, activist, and philanthropist, who received a “Justice for All” award for her tireless and effective advocacy on behalf of Baltimore communities. Edward Bernard, OSI Advisory Board member and vice chairman at T. Rowe Price Group, led a crowd in the lobby of the Baltimore Museum of Art in a toast to mark OSI’s 20th anniversary (right photo).