Inner Harbour Project Volunteer Blog Post

The Inner Harbor Project: Creating More Inclusive Communities

Even in today’s technological and increasingly globalized world that enables us to instantly be exposed to people thousands of miles away, from vastly different cultures, many times the very media that leads to understanding can construe an incomplete image of a community. Having attended international schools in multiple countries, I’ve also noticed that in certain cases, not even the actual, daily interaction of people of varied races and backgrounds is enough to counter the stereotypes of ethnic and other groups that are proliferating. Letting these tensions simmer, especially when one is in such close contact with those whom the misconceptions and/or fear are related to, results in a less cohesive network of individuals, as well as less tolerance. Fortunately, the Inner Harbor Project in Baltimore, MD plans to utilize the minds and skills of inner harbor youth to instigate social change among local policy makers and clear up misconceptions about “black youth and their intentions in the Inner Harbour.”

How does campaign founder Celia Newstadt plan to do this? Her vision is through qualitative research and a summer camp. Sound a bit like science camp? Well in a way it is—10 selected high school students will work with Celia to conduct ethnographic research into the history of public spaces in the Harbour and other areas, and will be helped in analyzing competition for public space by guest speakers and experiments. By viewing tensions between harbour youth and local authorities through a sociological lens, new and constructive solutions can be found in order to “decrease crime in the area and build a more inclusive space.” The funds collected for the campaign will be used to provide the necessary research tools, transportation, and food, along with helping realize individual projects. Money is also needed to finish the July through August camp, and to develop a plan to lessen problems and tension between police, officials, and youth regarding local crime.

Currently the venture has received a Napier Award Grant of $10,000, which is being slotted towards paying the students for their participation. The tipping point of $2,500 has also been reached and exceeded and the campaign has $5,400, more than halfway to the total funding goal! With this much funding, Celia will be able to organize a public event at the end of the camp to showcase the students’ achievements, which includes purchasing an event permit. Again, the money is needed to buy research tools like recording devices, and for food and transport. There are only 11 days left till the end of the campaign, so spread the word through social media, word of mouth etc, to help Celia make her project a success. You can also choose to donate to the cause. Let’s create more inclusive communities!

Shaakya Vembar

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