Nine volunteers sworn in as Baltimore CASAs

Having completed 30 hours of classroom training and approximately three hours of court observation, nine volunteers will officially be able to help abused or neglected children in foster care.

Judge Robert Kershaw recently swore in the following individuals as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs): Stephanie Crumb of Parkville; Edson DePina of West Baltimore; Marva Gaffney of Gwynn Oak; Lovetie Gbalazeh of Rosedale; Gwendolyn Love of Randallstown; Bryan McLain of Station North; Salome Sullivan of Hamilton;

Rebecca Woestman of Pen Lucy; and Flori Yellin of Little Italy.

“CASA of Baltimore is determined to increase the number of youths we serve this year and these new volunteers will help us reach our goals,” said Susan Burger, executive director for CASA of Baltimore, Inc.

The newest group of CASAs includes college students, working professionals and a stay-at-home mom. They bring their own individual strengths to CASA of Baltimore, but all have the same goal in mind.

“After seeing some of the conditions my peers lived in while attending grade and high school, I decided that my personal and professional life would be dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged youths,” said Crumb, who is double majoring at Towson University in psychology and family studies, on the Services to Children and Youth track

Love, the mother of a grown daughter, said she was inspired to become a CASA volunteer by the Albert Pine quote: ”What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others in the world remains and is immortal.”

No special experience is required to become a CASA volunteer; training and supervision are provided by professional staff. For more information about volunteer opportunities with CASA of Baltimore, Inc., call 410-244-1465 or visit:

Four tasks for college professors

A few days ago, I read on Facebook the re-posting of an essay, authored by a young college professor, which discussed the five things students should never say to their professors. Originally published in USA Today, the list includes such gems as “Did I miss anything important,” “I took this class for an easy A,” “I didn’t know we had anything due,” “I was studying for another course so couldn’t do my work for this class,” and “Did you answer my email yet.”

While I, like so many professors, have been asked all of these questions during my teaching career, I want to offer a different list, this one for professors. Too often, educators, and especially professors, seem to operate from the perspective that “this job would be Ok if it weren’t for the kids.” That list of questions not to ask, in my mind, comes from the same place. While it may have been intended to help students get in good with their professors, it seems to suggest that students are clueless dolts who are annoyingly self-centered.

I disagree. I do not find the majority of students to be either clueless or self-centered. And, when we approach teaching in this manner, we create a classroom climate that starts off negatively and reinforces that those with the power (read: professors) have nothing but disdain for those who lack it.

So, here is my list of things for professors to remember as we start a new school year:

1) Your job is to teach whomever is in your class. This might not always include the most engaged and eloquent students. Deal with it. Try to be creative and flexible so that you can help those students become more engaged. If this isn’t your strong suit, seek help. There is no shortage of great journals and books devoted to enhancing teaching skills.

2) Being empathetic to students’ issues and problems does not make you weak. Rather,

trying to understand why a student might be struggling and, when appropriate, making accommodations is a sign of respect. When you treat students this way, they typically respond in kind.

3) Students’ lives outside the classroom can be an important part of their education. We are constantly socialized through our lived experiences. It behooves us to be aware of what is happening on campus so we can help students see the connections between their work, their family lives, even their campus activities, and what is happening in the classroom.

4) College education should be about preparing students to create a better world. This is the most important of the four. If we continue to teach the same content and in the same ways as we were taught, we are preparing people to live in a world that is like ours today. This is not the goal. Rather, we need to develop students’ creativity and leadership, their commitment to peace and social justice, if we have a prayer of continuing our existence on this planet.

While it is a short list, it isn’t an easy one. But, as they say, if teaching was easy, everyone would do it.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend

Hello everyone! I hope you are getting ready to start your Labor Day Weekend. I know I am. I have to have eye surgery this week, afterwards, I need some R&R, so by the time you read this, my Boo-Boo and I will be on the road headed to Philadelphia, PA to the Tony Williams Scholarship Jazz Festival which takes place at the Embassy Suites-Airport in Philadelphia, Penn. It’s an event I have attended every year for the past 22 years, I know I will see a few of you there. It is a very nice line up this year, even though you might not recognize some of the artists, believe me they are some of the best jazz recording artists around. Some of the other acts are the Wayne Morgan Trio, the Youth Jazz Performances, Gerald Veasley, the Farid Barron Trio, Glenn Williams Journey, Barbara Walker Story, Gerald Veasley and they will have a “Jazz Workshop” which has become very popular at this event. For more information, call Thelma Anderson at 215-753-0232 or call the hotel at 215-365-4500.

Tony Williams, national recording artist, saxophonist and retired teacher from the Philadelphia School System is the founder and producer of the Annual Tony Williams Scholarship Jazz Festival. He is an all around musician, a mentor and an advocate of young people in the music field. He is responsible for the introduction of jazz to the many young students who have passed through the Mount Airy Cultural Center’s doors in Philadelphia.

Courtesy photo

Tony Williams, national recording artist, saxophonist and retired teacher from the Philadelphia School System is the founder and producer of the Annual Tony Williams Scholarship Jazz Festival. He is an all around musician, a mentor and an advocate of young people in the music field. He is responsible for the introduction of jazz to the many young students who have passed through the Mount Airy Cultural Center’s doors in Philadelphia.

Well darlings, while I’m away the mouse will play. There’s a lot going on in Baltimore too. The “Dinner, Show & Cabaret (Remember the Royal Theater) is going on at the Forest Park Senior Center located 4801 Liberty Heights Avenue on Sunday, September 1 from 5-9 p.m. It is BYOB, free cups & ice, door prizes, 50/50 raffle, live entertainment featuring live Motown Revue/R&B groups with Steve “Smokey” Scribner and Mr. Disco playing your favorite line and hand-dancing tunes, a soul food dinner catered by LCE Caterers and many vendors. Yours truly will be there with my book “African American Community, History & Entertainment in Maryland” (Remembering the Yesterday’s 1940-1980) to autograph just for you. To all my senior citizens, this is a special place for you to enjoy and be safe.

My dear friend Jim “Magic” Johnson and the Old School Runners are inviting you to join them for their 11th Annual Crab Feast on Sunday, September 1, from 2-6 p.m. at the Columbus Gardens, 4301 Klosterman Avenue in Baltimore. That is off the 8400 block of Belair Road. It is cabaret style, so BYOB and your ticket also includes free beer and set-ups. Sugar Chris is the DJ. For ticket information, call 443-676-9038.

Heralds of Hope Theater Company hosts a new Baltimore Playwrights Festival Play for the last weekend, Friday to Sunday, Aug. 30 – Sept.1, 2013 in title: “Countdown to the Happy Day” at Sojourner-Douglass College Theater, 200 N. Central Avenue in Baltimore. Producer & Co-Director, Margaret Locklear with Percy W. Thomas. The two character drama features Terry Johnson-Bey and Paris Alexander. For more information, call 410-736-1846

Courtesy photo

Heralds of Hope Theater Company hosts a new Baltimore Playwrights Festival Play for the last weekend, Friday to Sunday, Aug. 30 – Sept.1, 2013 in title: “Countdown to the Happy Day” at Sojourner-Douglass College Theater, 200 N. Central Avenue in Baltimore. Producer & Co-Director, Margaret Locklear with Percy W. Thomas. The two character drama features Terry Johnson-Bey and Paris Alexander. For more information, call 410-736-1846

Another Crab Feast is being hosted by John A. Holmes Lodge #89 on Saturday, August 31 at Tall Cedars, 2501 Putty Hill Avenue from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Your tickets include open buffet, and open bar or you can BYOB, DJ and all the crabs you can eat. For more information, call 443-546-7362.

Enjoy your holiday weekend and stay safe no matter where you decide to celebrate. Remember to get your subscription of the Baltimore Times, by calling 410-366-3900 or going to their website: You can order my new book from me directly by sending $32.00 to 214 Conewood Road, Reisterstown, Maryland 21136, check payable to Rosa Pryor and a note with autograph instructions.

I am out of space, but remember if you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or email me your events to UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.

Bad News for Mayor Vroom Vroom

Mayor Stephanie “Vroom Vroom” Rawlings-Blake can’t be happy about the story that appeared in the August 25, 2013 edition of The Baltimore Sun.


Gregory Kane

“Future of event on uncertain course,” the headline read. The event in question is the useless, worthless nothing of a race called the Baltimore Grand Prix.

The race is Mayor Vroom Vroom’s baby, her idea, her pride and joy. She truly believes, deep in her precious little heart, that an annual car race in Baltimore will enhance the city’s prestige, “put it on the map,” if you will.

So The Vroom— as I’m fond of calling her— couldn’t have been too happy to read the first three paragraphs of The Baltimore Sun story, which went like this:

“Gathering speed for its third year, the Grand Prix of Baltimore looks to be on track, but behind the scenes a host of challenges make it increasingly possible this may be open-wheel racing’s last year in the Inner Harbor.

“Schedule conflicts for the next two years, questions about local and state support, and the sport’s flagging popularity threaten the Grand Prix’s future.

“Grand Prix and city officials acknowledged last week that they are struggling to find weekends in August 2014 and 2015 to accommodate the three-day racing festival. Next year, an Ohio State-Navy football game takes over M&T Bank Stadium on Labor Day weekend, and a big American Legion convention comes the following year. Finding another date that doesn’t conflict with events at the city’s two stadiums and convention center has proved difficult.”

Pay close attention to that phrase “the sport’s flagging popularity.” It’s a reality The Vroom hasn’t quite come to grips with yet.

She’s been pushing— more like cramming down the throats of unwilling Baltimoreans—a sporting event that, though flagging in popularity, she enjoys. SHE, not Joe and Jane Average Citizen, wants to see large segments of downtown Baltimore closed down for three-days every Labor Day weekend.

SHE wants the rerouting and slowing down of Mass Transit Administration buses, two things that are a major pain in the neck to hundreds, if not thousands, of commuters.

Were The Vroom a mayor that puts the interests and enjoyment of average Baltimoreans ahead of her own, she’d have tried to bring annual sporting events to this town that they like.

What about an annual soccer tournament? Soccer certainly isn’t a sport that’s “flagging in popularity.” It’s the most popular sport in the world, especially in some Latin American and Caribbean nations.

Recently there was a soccer game pitting a team from a Spanish-speaking Latin American country against one from the Caribbean. It was held down in Washington, D.C., at the Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

There is a large enough Latino and Caribbean immigrant population in the D.C. area that should have made that game a success. But the Baltimore area has its own burgeoning Latino immigrant population, and a Caribbean immigrant population that’s been here for years.

A series of soccer games pitting Latin American and Caribbean teams just might work. But if that doesn’t work, then a track and field invitational just might.

The IAAF— the International Association of Athletics Federation— holds regular track and field events in something called the Diamond League.

There has been a Diamond League Monaco, a Diamond League Zurich, a Diamond League London and a Diamond League New York.

The Vroom should get to work and try to make sure a Diamond League Baltimore is a regular stop on the tour. Jamaican immigrants in this area might be chomping at the bit to see— live and in person— Usain Bolt smoke American sprinters.

Note: had Memorial Stadium been renovated instead of torn down, it would have been a perfect venue for regular soccer and/or track and field events. But officials in this city, as The Vroom has shown, just aren’t that sports oriented. At least not for the right sports.

For example, it still hasn’t dawned on The Vroom that Baltimore is a basketball city, not a car-racing city.

Back in March the boys’ basketball team for Dunbar High School— which has set the standard for hoops in this town— broke the record for the number of Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association championships.

Dunbar has now won 15 MPSSAA boys basketball titles. The school broke the record of 14, which was held by Cumberland High School.

It took Cumberland many decades to win those 14 championships, and the school sure hasn’t won any lately.

Dunbar just won its fourth straight. It has won 15 championships in the last 21 seasons. The run began in 1993.

Did The Vroom invite Dunbar boys’ basketball team to City Hall, call in the TV cameras and give these young men their just props for what they achieved?

Of course she didn’t, and we know why.

All she had on her mind was the sound of “VROOM! VROOM!”

Frederick Douglass Plantation: Archaeology unveiled

— The first exhibition to display the many archaeological finds at Frederick Douglass’ childhood plantation— where he first realized that he was a slave—opened recently at the Academy Art Museum located at 106 South Street in Easton, Maryland. The exhibition is co-curated by University of Maryland archaeologists.

“Joint Heritage at Wye House” represents eight years of excavations conducted by the University of Maryland team and highlights evidence recovered from slave quarters and the Green House at one of the largest and well-documented plantations in Maryland. The major interpretive exhibition includes the rarely seen historic ledger of the plantation’s rosters of slaves. It runs through October 13, 2013.

Green House (later called the Orangery) at Wye House, Easton, MD, 1963, Photograph by Historic American Buildings Survey. (Courtesy of the Wye House Collection)

Photograph by Historic American Buildings Survey. (Courtesy of the Wye House Collection)

Green House (later called the Orangery) at Wye House, Easton, MD, 1963, Photograph by Historic American Buildings Survey. (Courtesy of the Wye House Collection)

“At a time when racial tensions continue to divide, our archaeology shows that American culture is an indivisible amalgam of African and European influences,” says University of Maryland archaeologist Mark P. Leone, who has led the Wye Plantation excavation. “From culinary tastes to horticulture to religion, African traditions blended with the European to shape a distinctly American culture.”

The excavation uncovered evidence of life on the thriving agricultural plantation. Hundreds of slaves toiled there, along with hired labor and family members. Artifacts include house wares, food remnants, and traces of pollen from the herbs, medicines, flowers and fruit grown in the historic “Orangery,” as it was later called, an 18th century feature on estates and plantations.

“We have gone to great lengths to provide a wealth of historic context to make plantation life as vivid and accessible as possible,” says Academy Art Museum Curator Anke Van Wagenberg. “Our display includes books, recipes, maps, artwork. Most remarkably, we can document the generations of slaves who worked there.”

Broken plate artifact

Courtesy of the Wye House Collection

Broken plate artifact

The Maryland Historical Society lent the Museum the rarely seen handwritten slave ledgers, including hundreds of complete names. The exhibit includes a searchable database.

“This holds intense interest for many who live in the area— descendants of Wye slaves,” says Leone. “Understanding history is a matter of pride.”

Dating to 1785, the Wye Orangery may be the oldest surviving structure of its type in the United States. A significant part of the excavation has been devoted to the building. By analyzing surviving bits of pollen unearthed there, Leone’s UMD colleague Elizabeth F. Pruitt was able to catalogue the arrangement and identity of species originally grown there.

“We identified more than 100 plants that grew there,” Pruitt says. “It provided medicinal herbs, leafy plants, exotic fruits and array of flowers. This was a central feature of the plantation combining beauty and practicality.”

The Wye Plantation has remained in the same family for 12 generations, dating back to 1659. The owners, the Tilghman family, gave Leone access and helped fund his research, as well as the exhibition.

“Joint Heritage at Wye House” is made possible by the generous support of Richard and Beverly Tilghman, the University of Maryland, College Park and the Frederick Douglass Honor Society. A

Preseason: Panthers vs. Ravens Recap

Despite the losing score, the Ravens’ third preseason game against the Carolina Panthers was a step in the right direction for the team, as both the offense and defense looked sharper than they did a week ago against the Falcons. Carolina’s four touchdowns came on returns on defense and special teams, and the Panthers only managed to put up six points on the Ravens’ defense. After the game Coach Harbaugh said, “Very pleased about really most everything about this game. I liked the way we played, I liked how we played; I just didn’t like the four returns for touchdowns.”

Even though the game was by no means perfect, fans should feel more confident about the season opener in Denver since the starters played well in the NFL’s version of a dress rehearsal.

The first string defense looked dominant and effectively shut down the Carolina offense. In almost three quarters of play, Carolina only managed to rack up 68 yards of total offense and 3 points. It was refreshing to see cornerback Lardarius Webb back out on the field after recovering from a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). Once again, linebacker Daryl Smith led the charge on defense, making plays all over the field and finishing the night with 3 tackles and a sack. “This game we really wanted to correct some issues we had last week just as far as playing fundamental football and with proper technique,” said Smith after the game. “We came out, and for the most part I think we did that.” In addition to Smith, the Ravens’ linebackers all played well. Suggs and Dumervil had constant pressure on Cam Newton and forced several bad throws. Josh Bynes and rookie Arthur Brown were solid in both man and zone coverage. Even with all the talented linebackers currently on the roster, the best unit on the team is the defensive line. Chris Canty, Haloti Ngata, Marcus Spears, Art Jones, and Brandon Williams form one of the most formidable defensive lines in the NFL, and arguably have the most depth at the position. Against the Panthers, they controlled the line of scrimmage and stopped the run, even making a stop in the backfield on third and one. If the defense continues to gel, barring injuries, the sky is the limit for this unit.

The first string offense had a great first series and overall they were able to effectively move the ball against a talented Panther’s defense. Ray Rice showed what he can do with a good offensive line in front of him and had 62 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Joe Flacco consistently moved the chains and went 18/24 for 169 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, although one interception can be blamed almost entirely on receiver Tandon Doss. Unfortunately, as soon as Pro Bowl guard Marshall Yanda left the game the offensive line fell apart, allowing too much pressure on Flacco and not opening up many running lanes. Yanda’s health this season will go a long way in determining whether this offense finishes in the top ten or not.

The star of the night on offense was the undrafted rookie wide receiver out of Georgia, Marlon Brown. He had four receptions for 59 yards and a highlight reel touchdown grab, all against the Panthers’ starting defense. He showed soft hands and good route running and at 6’2” he has the height to be a dangerous red zone target. Considering the lack of depth that the Ravens have at the wide receiver position, if Brown continues to shine, he could cement his spot as the number 2 receiver, and start opposite Torrey Smith against Denver.

Indie Soul: The Baltimore Times Book Club

On Saturday, August 24, 2013, the first ever Book Club Event at the Baltimore Times will take place from noon to 3 p.m. The Baltimore Times is located at 2513 N. Charles Street in the Charles Village neighborhood in Baltimore.

The aim of book club is to promote local authors by giving them an opportunity to reach a wider audience.

According to the Sales and Promotion Department at the newspaper, “The Baltimore Times has always tried to be supportive of local artists in the area. We want Baltimore to be a city where music, art, films and books thrive. We especially want the independent artists to have a voice!”

Three fine authors from the Baltimore area will be featured at the event this weekend. Scheduled to make an appearance are: Sydney Harrison; Dr. Teresa Fuller; and DeBora M. Ricks.

Sydney Harrison: What if an individual did not have the opportunity to bond with his biological parents? What if he did not know his biological family? What if this child was in desperate need of a loving family and a safe environment? What if love was the only thing that could save this child and was able to change this child’s life for the better? What if one day this individual decided to seek answers to unlock the past and connect the dots and in so doing, the person discovered that he was the product of a vicious and brutal rape? Come to hear what motivated and inspired Harrison and read the story for yourself— “Soul Searcher!”

Dr. Teresa Fuller: “Change 1 Thing! A Doctor’s 12 Step Guide to Permanent Weight Loss, Disease Prevention and A Lifetime of Incredible Health,” was written for people who are frustrated with many failed attempts at permanent weight loss and chronic health problems. Dr. Teresa Fuller developed this step-by-step approach in response to countless patients who have asked her how to lose weight and improve their health. The book takes you on a journey by asking you to adopt 12 habits that promote a healthy lifestyle. The book asks that you allow yourself one month to firmly establish one new habit and in one year, you will have transformed your lifestyle.

DeBora M. Ricks: You don’t have to identify yourself as a “love junkie” to get value from this book, which offers relationship wisdom for anyone who has ever loved; been in a relationship; believed somehow that a relationship would complete them; or felt that they were damaged and unlovable.

“Why Did He Break Up With Me?” is full of breakup stories from women, tips on how to “get over him,” insight and advice from therapists, life coaches and sex advocates and much, much more! One reader said about the book, “It changed the course of my life!”

For more information about The Baltimore Times Book Club, call 410-366-3900 ext. 3016.

Indie Soul welcomes your questions and comments. To contact Phinesse Demps, email: or call: 410-941-9202. Follow Phinesse on Twitter: @lfpmedia; or The Baltimore Times: @Baltimore_Times

President recognized integrated military at 60th Anniversary Korean War event

Among the African American heroes recognized during the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice on July 27 in Washington, DC was U.S. Navy Ensign Jesse L. Brown, the first African American naval aviator to die in combat. Ensign Brown was shot down while providing close-air support for units of the 7th Marines during the Chosin Reservoir battle in December 1950. Of the 600,000 African Americans who served in the Armed Forces during the Korean War, it’s estimated that more than 5,000 died in combat.

Brown was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for performing dangerous combat actions that resulted in his fatal crash. In March 1972, Brown’s widow christened a Knox-class ocean escort ship the USS Jesse Brown.

CNN recently ran several stories about the quest of one Korean War veteran, retired Navy Captain Thomas Hudner, who had recently returned to North Korean in an effort to retrieve the remains of his fallen comrade, Jesse Brown. Capt. Hudner was flying his plane to support Ensign Brown’s mission on December 4, 1950 when Brown was shot down. Hudner crashed his own plan in an unsuccessful attempt to save Brown. Capt. Hudner was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valiant efforts.

Black conservatives reflect on 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

— On August 28, Americans will observe the 50th anniversary of the “March on Washington” civil rights rally. Black conservatives affiliated with the Project 21 leadership network are sharing their reflections on the anniversary by talking about the lessons learned since that day, how the March affected their lives and how American society has changed since that day in 1963.

While it was called the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” the event is now commonly called the March on Washington. It was a major turning point in America’s civil rights movement. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC, where they heard, among many other speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.


Courtesy photo

Joe Hicks

Project 21’s Joe Hicks is a former executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization founded by King. Currently the vice president of Community Advocates, Inc., Hicks also served as the executive director of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission and has hosted his own radio talk show. Worried that some are spoiling the legacy of the event, Hicks said:

Fifty years ago, civil rights organizations and black Americans from all over the nation gathered in Washington, D.C. to demand that full civil rights and equal opportunity be granted to them as outlined in the nation’s Constitution. If Dr. King and other larger-than-life civil rights leaders from that era were alive today, they would be stunned and amazed by the progress the nation has made since Dr. King made his dramatic “I Have a Dream” speech.

Unfortunately, these great Americans would also be disappointed by the actions of those who inherited their legacy. Dr. King, Ella Baker or Thurgood Marshall would not have endorsed race hustling. In 1963, the protests and demands of black citizens seized the high moral ground and were based in actual suffering and discrimination.

On this 50th anniversary of a great American event, we will witness the tattered, shrill remnants of the once-proud civil rights forces protesting “racial oppression” that is largely pathology and myth. Their actions now are to further a shamelessly outdated and polarizing agenda.

Project 21 member Lisa Fritsch, a talk show host and Tea Party activist in Austin, Texas, said:

Growing up, I was told that hard work, excellence and strong character would make the world Dr. Martin Luther King envisioned a reality for me.

I am fortunate that when I look around my community, my church and my family, I see Dr. King’s Dream realized in love and in service. I see my children skipping along, playing and praying with other children who they have judged to be like them— a likeness of heart and mind. We have jokingly referred to our section of my community as the United Nations because we have a family from nearly every racial bent you can think of as well as mixed families. It is a beautiful compilation of fellowship that requires no particular political or racial persuasion to borrow a cup of sugar, come over unexpectedly for tea, get an unexpected ride to the emergency room or attend a Christmas party.

But when I read dire statistics about urban communities and the decline of marriage and family in our country at large, it is obvious that fewer of us are connecting with Dr. King’s Dream. This is unacceptable. We talk too much about what the past did wrong than what is just and good right now. We’ve allowed our hearts to grow cold towards opportunity in the absence of hope.

Project 21’s Demetrius Minor, an evangelist in southeastern Virginia and former White House intern, said:

This is a wonderful time for all Americans to commemorate the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for justice and equality. To ensure that this dream was not mere vanity, we must continue to view our neighbors by the content of their character, and not the color of their skin.

We have a grand opportunity to move America forward by embracing each other with the love of our Creator. When this becomes our priority, Dr. King’s vision would be accomplished.

Project 21’s Stacy Swimp, the president of the Frederick Douglass Society in Michigan, says this celebration is only a brief respite in the ongoing struggle to maintain equal access to opportunity for those who seek it. Swimp said:

I am happy to stand with freedom-loving Americans of every race and creed in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The contributions of A. Philip Randolph; James Farmer; John Lewis; Dr. Martin. L. King, Jr.; Roy Wilkins; Whitney Young and so many others in organizing and executing this march paved a way for every American child to have a fair opportunity to experience American exceptionalism and economic independence.

I pray that we continue to honor the sacrifices of those who came before us by upholding their dedication to preventing racism and classism in education through school choice and to maintaining a strong free market where neither public or private work opportunities are hindered by Big Government.

This is not only a time of celebration. It is also an opportunity for us, as a nation, to reflect and determine who we have been, what we have done and where we have gone as well as who we still need to become, what we need to do, and where we need to go in order to ensure job opportunities and economic freedom are guaranteed for all who are willing to compete and take individual responsibility to pass on freedom to the next generation— as it was fought for and passed on to us.

Freedom is not free. That is why our predecessors marched in 1963. That is why we must continue their work today.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for nearly two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. For more information, visit the website:

Camp St. Vincent ends season with parent day and carnival

— Camp St. Vincent, Baltimore’s only summer camp that exclusively serves homeless children, ended its season with a carnival for the children and their families on Friday, August 16, 2013 at Patterson Park in Baltimore City.

Both campers and parents enjoyed outdoor games, a moonbounce, balloon art, face painting, snowballs, cotton candy, and a BBQ lunch at the carnival. The children also performed a dance and skit for their parents, counselors and staff.

“This is a very rewarding experience for me to coordinate this [camp]. The program is an eight week all inclusive summer camp for kids or families who are either homeless or are in transitional housing from Baltimore City and Baltimore County,” said Vena Carter, director of Camp St. Vincent. “We have arts and crafts, and a theater [program conducted] by Creative Alliance; dance by Underground Dance Studio; science by the Carrie Murray Nature Center, and field trips which we keep as a surprise. They have gone roller-skating and bowling. We have taken them to Washington, D.C. to the national museums, the zoo, and a really fun trip to Dave and Busters.”

Carter went on to say, “I have a wonderful staff of 12 volunteers that lead the instruction and assist with coordinating all activities. Without the support from our public and private donors this would not be possible, we also have people that drop things off who want this camp to be successful, such as snacks, or a box of tennis shoes, or school supplies. This camp is a one of a kind in the city and we work hard to make sure that the population we serve has a good summer.”

Along with traditional camp experiences such as swimming, arts, athletics and music, Camp St. Vincent offers a structured reading and math curriculum, psycho-social groups, and cultural enrichment activities. Within the safety and support of a therapeutic environment, children are able to develop positive trusting relationships with adults, who assist them in maintaining grade-appropriate academic performance, developing social competence and problem solving skills, strengthening autonomy, and ultimately gain a sense of purpose.

“I am here with my twin daughters, Sophia and Sahara, who attended the St. Vincent camp this summer, because we are currently homeless and staying at the Knight of Pea shelter, I really appreciated the camp. It gave me an opportunity to look for housing during the day and not worry about where my children were. They took good care of them and taught them a lot. Unfortunately, its only for the homeless people, and they will not be back next year, but I really enjoyed and appreciated having them at the camp this year, ” said Sonjia Gordon, mother of two children who attended Camp St. Vincent this summer.

St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore works to ensure that individuals and families in our community have the resources and opportunity to care for themselves and to build a better future. We are proud to be a United Way Impact Partner and to be recognized by Maryland Nonprofits with the Seal of Excellence for maintaining the highest standards of ethics and accountability in nonprofit governance, management, and operations.