Holiday Bazaar & Tea Returns to the Cloisters Castle

— Shop local this holiday season at the Holiday Bazaar & Tea at the Cloisters! Now two days, Friday, December 8 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, December 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Holiday Bazaar & Tea features 100 percent local Maryland artisans selling handmade items inside the historic Cloisters Castle.

Visitors can find unique gifts for loved ones while enjoying the beautiful interior and exterior of the Cloisters. This family-friendly event includes a free arts workshop upstairs where kids can make their own handmade gifts and decorations to take home. Inside the “Tea Room,” visitors can enjoy tea by Solo Te’ Tea, finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, scones, cheese and an assortment of pastries and desserts.

The tea times are 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, December 8 and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 9. The bazaar is free to attend and shop, but the tea is $30. Reservations for the tea can be made by contacting the Cloisters directly, at 410-821-7448.

The Cloisters is managed by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts and is located at 10440 Falls Road, Lutherville, MD.

Local Maryland artisans and crafters are still being accepted to participate in the bazaar. Interested vendors should visit and submit an application by Friday, December 1, 2017 to be considered.

Christmas Village in Baltimore Celebrates 5th Anniversary with new Inner Harbor Tree Lighting

— Christmas Village in Baltimore will again transform West Shore Park (501 Light Street) into a traditional indoor and outdoor German Christmas Market, open between Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 23, 2017 and Christmas Eve, Sunday, December 24, 2017.

The Baltimore and DC metro regions are invited to enjoy holiday sights and sounds with two Christmas trees; thousands of twinkling lights; entertainment; live music on two stages; children’s activities; and 50+ vendors. Shop for high-quality, international and local gifts and decorations. Warm up with a glass of warm mulled wine or hot chocolate while enjoying the great variety of European food and drinks. Exciting additions for the season will include a new Thank You for Serving Weekend, new outdoor Santa’s workshop, new Ho Ho Happy Hour, new shopping vendors and other surprises. Christmas Village will also debut their Official Tree Lighting Ceremony in partnership with local schools and feature new decorations.

“Christmas Village cannot wait for Baltimore’s holiday season to start,” said Christmas Village project manager, Nancy Schmalz. “We are excited to introduce many new holiday surprises for our guests, including brand new decorations, a new outdoor workshop for Santa and a brand new Tree Lighting Ceremony. Our team also looks forward to honoring our veterans, and our active service men and women, with a special Thank You for Serving Weekend!”

Now, in its fifth season, Christmas Village in Baltimore has grown into one of the region’s most unique and charming holiday attractions. Authentic wooden huts, a huge heated tent, two Christmas trees, and festive decorations will pop-up on West Shore Park, located in between the Maryland Science Center and the Baltimore Visitor Center. It’s the most wonderful time of year on the Baltimore Waterfront, as Christmas Village is located just steps away from popular holiday attractions like the PANDORA Ice Rink (Inner Harbor Amphitheater), and other popular Waterfront Holiday Happenings.

More than 50 local and international merchants are already busy preparing high-quality crafted gifts. Famous German vendor Käthe Wohlfahrt will return with thousands of ornaments, pyramids and limited-edition holiday decorations. With toys, apparel, jewelry, decorations, artwork and more, there will be something for everyone on Santa’s list.

Follow the smell of gingerbread and Schnitzel to a full menu of European food, sweets and drinks, including mouthwatering German Bratwurst, Hofbrau Beer, mulled wine, potato latke and other treats. Food and drinks can be enjoyed in one of the seating areas in the large heated tent. Look for a huge food variety this year, with something for everyone!

Santa will move to a brand-new outdoor wooden “workshop” hut, custom designed by a Christmas Village artist; children and pets are invited to take a photo with Santa at his new location at all times the market is open

Christmas Village in Baltimore’s outdoor area is always free for admission. Admission for the heated festival tent is free on the opening weekend. For all other weekends, admission to the festival tent is five dollars for adults 18 and over, while kids under 18 can enter for free. For Baltimore’s Dollar or Less Weekend, on December 9 and 10, visitors will enjoy $1 admission. Christmas Village’s website will also feature weekend discount coupons available for download.

For more information, and to spread early holiday cheer, follow @bmorechristmas on Twitter and Instagram, like Christmas Village in Baltimore on Facebook and visit Final vendor lists, food and drink menus, themed weekends, special event details and special promotions will be released on the website in mid-November.

Schedule Summary:

First Day: Nov 23, 2017

Opening Event: Nov 25, 2017

Last Day: Dec 24, 2017

Closed: Nov 28, Dec 5 and 12, 2017 (first three Tuesdays)


Sunday through Thursday 11:00am to 7:00pm

Friday through Saturday 11:00am to 8:00pm

Thanksgiving Day 11:00am to 5:00pm

Christmas Eve 11:00am to 5:00pm


501 Light Street

Baltimore, MD 21230

(West Side of the famous Inner Harbor in Baltimore)

Third Annual Annapolis Chocolate Binge Festival & Holiday Market

Everyone loves chocolate and Annapolis’ will be celebrating by filling West Street with local chocolatiers ready to help chocoholics get through the holiday season. On Sunday December 3, 2017 from noon to 5 p.m. on the first blocks of West Street will be the third annual Annapolis Chocolate Binge Festival, featuring family friendly entertainment, chocolate, holiday shopping and the lighting of West Street’s BGE Holiday Light Canopy.

Start off the December holidays season with some fun and indulge your sweet tooth at the third annual Annapolis Chocolate Binge Festival, to benefit the Annapolis Arts District and We Care and Friends. The day is loaded with family friendly fun. There is a giant gingerbread house moon bounce for the kids, a giant snowball run where you can race your friends, you can roast marsh mellows and make smores at the fire pit in the middle of West Street with the Annapolis Fire Department, get a balloon animal, drink hot coco with the police department and visit Santa. Santa will be collecting new toys, coats and hats for the We Care and Friends Holiday Party for local kids in need.

Take a chocolate tour along West Street with two dozen vendors selling various chocolate specialties , including chocolate caramels, cakes, chocolate bars, truffles, fudge, cookies, candies, hot chocolate, fondue, martinis and more. Some of the local and regional chocolatiers include Dear Coco Chocolate, Salazon Chocolate, Tuxedo Hill Chocolate, Heritage Chocolate, Moonshine Chocolate, Kilwins Chocolate, Cakes by Rachael, Otterbein Bakery, Annapolis Caramel Company, CoCo Couture, Happy Chicken Bakery, Foxtrot Chocolates, Sweet Heats Patisserie, Moondance Cookies, Parfections Chocolates, Sweet Piggy, Harper Macaw and more.

You can also complete your holiday shopping at the holiday market at the Annapolis Chocolate Binge Festival featuring dozens of local craftspeople with a wide range of handmade items including jewelry, pottery, candles wood turnings, glass ornaments and more. Plus visit the galleries and shops in the Annapolis Arts District and ithroughout Annapolis for other unique gifts.

The entertainment starts off at noon on two different stages on West Street with a grand finale at 5pm with the grande illumination of the BGE Holiday Light Canopy over West Street Admission is just a $5 suggested donation for adults (kids are free with parents). While supplies last, everyone making a donation will get a complimentary Hot chocolate from the PoPo at the air stream camper.

Plenty of easy parking is nearby on at Whitmore Parking Garage, Gotts Court Parking Garage, Knighton Parking Garage and the State Parking Garage. Plus the free Circulator bus will bring you right to the festival.

The Annapolis Chocolate Binge Festival is brought to you by the Inner West street Association and managed by Evans Management LLC. They also bring you the First Sunday Arts Festivals, Annapolis Fringe Festival, Dinner Under the Stars and manage the Annapolis Arts District.

For more information please visit

BGE, Ripken Foundation Unveil Eddie Murray Field in West Baltimore

Shortly after the demonstrations and unrest rocked Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation decided it was time to step up its efforts in West Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles legends Cal Ripken, Jr and Eddie Murray at unveiling ceremony.

Courtesy Photo

Baltimore Orioles legends Cal Ripken, Jr and Eddie Murray at unveiling ceremony.

The organization has done just that with various community-oriented functions and its latest venture, a youth development park that will provide children with a safe place to play.

Along with Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE), the foundation unveiled The Eddie Murray Field at BGE Park in West Baltimore on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.

The field will serve as a fun and safe place for youth and the home of James Mosher Baseball, the oldest continuously operating African-American youth baseball league in the United States, according to foundation officials.

“After the unrest, we made a commitment to helping West Baltimore because it was the most effected community in the city,” said Steve Salem, the president of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “This is the first of five parks that we’ll be opening in West Baltimore and we’re so excited to give children a safe place to play, grow, and be kids.”

BGE officials say the park will also provide children mentorship through sports and recreation. To underscore that, Baltimore Orioles legends Cal Ripken Jr., and Eddie Murray, were asked to attend the unveiling.

“Every child deserves a positive environment where they can play and grow while surrounded by caring adults who can teach them important life lessons like teamwork, respect and personal responsibility,” said Cal Ripken Jr. “We are excited to bring this ballpark to the deserving kids and local community of West Baltimore. To be able to dedicate this park to my dear friend Eddie Murray makes today extra special.”

Ongoing programs at the field will help keep kids safe by providing a positive outlet, mentorship opportunities and a variety of activities that teach life skills.

“Like the James Mosher Baseball League, BGE has deep roots in Baltimore, and we are extremely proud to provide this legacy gift to the city we have called home for more than 200 years,” said Calvin G. Butler Jr., chief executive officer for BGE. “This youth development park will have a lasting impact on young people by providing them with a healthy environment where they can build skills and experiences necessary for success as adults.”

Eddie Murray Field at BGE Park features a synthetic turf baseball diamond equipped with dugouts, a backstop, and a digital scoreboard. Located behind James Mosher Elementary, the field will be gifted to and maintained by the Baltimore City Public School system.

BGE’s support of this and other corporate citizenship programs is made possible through the use of Exelon shareholder dollars.

Other project partners include the State of Maryland, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Under Armour, FIELDS, Bon Secours, Baltimore Health System Foundation, T. Rowe Price Foundation.

Since 2009, the Ripken Foundation has created 74 completed parks across the country in 21 states, including 11 parks located throughout the Baltimore area. Additionally, the Ripken Foundation continues to reshape the relationship between law enforcement and youth in Baltimore communities through its “Badges for Baseball” juvenile crime prevention program.

Salem says James Mosher Baseball has had such a tremendous impact on the community, which is one reason the Ripken Foundation enjoys supporting the league.

“For generations, they’ve been able to provide youth with a support system while teaching them valuable life lessons through the game of baseball,” Salem said. “Their commitment to the game and to bettering the community is truly remarkable. The coaches deserve this field, the kids deserve this field, and the community deserves this field.

Confusion shouldn’t stop patients from buying health insurance

This year’s Affordable Care Act open enrollment period started on November 1. Millions of Americans will soon visit or the online insurance exchange run by their state to shop for 2018 health plans. Many will be confused by what they find.

Premiums have increased significantly. The most popular “silver” exchange plans cost 34 percent more on average, than they did in 2017. Skimpier bronze plans cost 18 percent more. Generous gold plan premiums have risen 16 percent. Many insurers won’t offer exchange plans at all. There will be just a single exchange insurer in nearly half of all counties.

Luckily, Americans don’t have to settle for exchange plans. They can also buy coverage “off-exchange.” And they may want to consider consulting a certified health insurance agent or broker to determine whether exchange or off-exchange plans are right for them.

Exchange plans are generally more attractive for individuals and families who earn less than 400 percent of the poverty level. That’s because these folks— individuals taking home less than $48,240 or families of four bringing in less than $98,400— qualify for subsidized coverage. But they can only claim those subsidies through the exchanges. Off-exchange plans aren’t subsidized. So they may be a better fit for the roughly 40 percent of Americans who earn too much to qualify for subsidies. Some of these plans also generally allow enrollees to visit a wider range of doctors and hospitals. About 5.4 million people purchased off-exchange plans in 2017.

Most people could use assistance when picking a plan. Less than four in 10 Americans are “very confident” that they can select the health insurance plan that’s right for them. Only four percent of people can define common insurance terms like “deductible,” “co-pay,” “coinsurance,” and “out-of-pocket maximum.”

Health insurance agents and brokers can help these folks understand the benefits and drawbacks of various plans. Most of these professionals have 10 or more years of experience in the industry. Three out of four spend “most” or “a lot of” their time explaining options to clients.

Consumers who have sought assistance from agents and brokers in the past have been extremely satisfied. Nearly 84 percent of people who requested assistance when shopping for plans in 2014 said insurance agents and brokers were helpful. That’s a higher satisfaction ranking than any other source of help.

It’s easy to see why agents and brokers are popular. They’re often able to find better deals than consumers would have found on their own. Premiums are 13 percent lower in counties with the most brokers. Plus, agents and brokers generally don’t charge for advice.

These professionals play a pivotal role in helping people sign up for coverage. In California, for instance, agents and brokers signed up 525,000 people for exchange plans in 2014. That represented 40 percent of the state’s total exchange enrollees.

Their services will be even more important this year, given some recent changes to the Affordable Care Act. This year’s open enrollment period in only runs 45 days, until December 15. In past years, it ran until late January, and will run longer this year in some state exchanges. The federal Department of Health and Human Services is also not spending as much on advertising open enrollment this year. So fewer people may even be aware that they need to sign up.

By helping people sign up for either exchange or off-exchange plans, brokers and agents can ensure a larger, more representative pool of enrollees. That will help stabilize the individual market and reduce future premium spikes. Americans only have a few weeks to decide on a 2018 health plan. They can ensure they make the right choice by calling in some professional help.

Janet Trautwein is the CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Hidden Figures author says history cultivates not just young readers but also the next generation of engaged citizens

— Award-winning Hidden Figures author Margot Lee Shetterly didn’t start out as a history buff. However her book, a number one New York Times bestseller, revealed an innate passion for history and a knack for telling compelling stories about the events that have shaped our country— and our lives.

Her most recent accolade was the 2017 Grateful American Book Prize for her true tale about the early days of NASA. During the 1950s and 1960s, the agency hired African American mathematicians to be human “computers” at its facility in Hampton, Virginia. However, they were given menial positions as pencil pushers, a fate they overcame at a time when the inequities of racism was rampant. Hidden Figures shows that the women whose stories Shetterly reveals, proved they were as capable, and maybe even more so— than the next man— for the task of catapulting the first astronauts into outer space.

Hidden Figures is an excellent example of how “humanizing” the facts of history can be whipped into a context that young readers appreciate.

“I’ve always been a big reader, though as a kid I gravitated towards fiction,” Shetterly said. “Over time I came to enjoy epic histories. Working as an

investment banker, I spent a lot of time reading financial histories, such as Ron Chernow’s biography, The House of Morgan. I started to read more general histories as a way of filling in the blanks in my knowledge, and doing so helped me to see the links between my own life and the past. Now, history is far and away my favorite genre.”

Shetterly believes history should remain a requirement for young learners.

“But, we need to present it as more than just a dusty old broom closet; history is about learning true stories, and reliving the lives of fascinating people.

“And, the Prize has done a lot to resurrect an interest among young learners in the topic,” she said. “Planting the seed of interest in history when kids are young is a way to create a lifelong interest in the topic. And, I think the focus of the Grateful American Prize cultivates not just young readers, but also the next generation of engaged citizens.”

No one can deny that Shetterly has a way with words. As she puts it: “If you give people a choice between castor oil and cupcakes, they’ll probably choose cupcakes. History as taught in the classroom can be dense, dull, and seem irrelevant to students’ lives. What if we decided to teach it as if we were telling stories around a campfire?”

She doesn’t dismiss the importance of discipline in the classroom. She agrees: the study of history should be rigorous and require knowledge about dates, names, and places.

“We only have to look at the ‘Hamilton’ sensation to see how presenting the same information in a different format can have a galvanizing effect. Storytelling is an innately human activity, and remembering the “story” in “history” may be the first step. I also believe telling stories from a variety of points of view brings more readers into the fold, and gives us a broader understanding of America as a country and a culture.”

The Grateful American Book Prize was designed to give kids a way to learn about the events and personalities that figure large in the origins and development of our nation. It was created as an inducement for authors and their publishers to focus on authentic works of historical fiction and nonfiction that capture the imaginations and interests of young learners.

Shetterly asserts that reading a good story is a delight, and it’s “a particularly powerful thing to discover if the story that so captivated your imagination is also true. History is often taught by leading with dry facts and dates, but we need to heed the words of writer David McCullough: history is all about people. I’m encouraged by the early evidence that interest in history degrees increased sharply in the last year.”

Perhaps the 21st Century focus on science and technology can co-exist with the more introspective study of history in our classrooms.

In fact, Shetterly professes that STEM subjects [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] and the humanities are not necessarily diametrically opposed.

“The work of the best scientists and engineers is amplified through clear prose, and the ability to communicate their findings and analysis. Writers are well served by having a degree of mathematical literacy, and the abilities to employ rational analysis and critical thinking. We need writers and scholars who have a knowledge of the history of science and technology. We need scientists with an understanding of the ways in which science and technology have provoked change in our society. I think one approach to improving performance and interest might be to teach history as a required component of STEM subject fields.”

Baltimore American Indian Center receives 2017 Maryland Heritage Award

— In conjunction with American Indian Heritage Month, Maryland Traditions, the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council, is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2017 Maryland Traditions Heritage Award in the category of “Place” will be the Baltimore American Indian Center.

An awards ceremony will be held at UMBC’s Proscenium Theatre on the evening of Saturday, December 2, 2017. The public is cordially invited to attend. Free tickets can be reserved through the UMBC University Tickets website.

The Baltimore American Indian Center (BAIC) has stood the test of time in Upper Fells Point. Originally founded in 1968 as the American Indian Study Center, it once primarily served as a resettlement resource for Indians who had migrated to the city seeking employment.

“The center was created to give us a place like home so we could stay connected and keep our culture alive,” said Linda Cox, a daughter of one of the founders of the BAIC.

Today, members of Baltimore’s American Indian community have, for the most part, relocated to areas outside of the neighborhood immediately surrounding the BAIC- a neighborhood that had at one time been popularly referred to as “the reservation.”

The BAIC now functions as a cultural magnet, which draws this dispersed community back in. Offering weekly culture classes, annual pow wows, a full-fledged community museum, a multipurpose meeting space and more, the BAIC continuously sustains the living cultural traditions of American Indians and Alaskan Natives of the Baltimore region.

Each year, UMBC’s New Media Studios, in partnership with Maryland Traditions, produces a short documentary about the Maryland Heritage Award recipient in the category of “Place.” This year is no exception. The first public viewing of this new documentary will take place during the awards ceremony.

“This recognition has really come at a crucial time,” said Ashley Minner, a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina who grew up in the Center and who now works as a folklorist for Maryland Traditions. “The Center is in transition and so is the neighborhood. It’s a joy to be able to present this honor to representatives of a place that has been so important to my own growth as a human being and as a member of our community.”

“The Maryland Traditions Heritage Awards are the state’s highest honor for those who teach, practice or steward our living cultural traditions,” said Maryland Traditions Director Chad Edward Buterbaugh. “By taking time to recognize the people, places, and practices that are vital to Maryland folklife, we also celebrate the diversity that makes Maryland such a unique place to live.”

Other 2017 Maryland Heritage recipients are: in the category of Person, documentary story quilter Joan M.E. Gaither of Anne Arundel County; and in the category of Tradition, the Deal Island Skipjack Races and Festival.

The ceremony concludes with a country blues concert by the Phil Wiggins Blues House Party. Bandleader and harmonica player Wiggins, of Montgomery County, is the recipient of a 2017 NEA National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

Disney’s The Lion King roars into The Hippodrome

Disney’s The Lion King has roared into Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center for its long-anticipated return. The show opened for its four-week engagement on Thursday, November 16, 2017, and will run through December 10, 2017. The production is a part of the 2017/2018 CareFirst® BlueCross BlueShield Hippodrome Broadway Series. Due to overwhelming demand for tickets, a special matinee performance on Wednesday, November 22 at 2:00 p.m., was added to the schedule.

In its 20th year, The Lion King continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, twent-four global productions have been seen by more than 90 million people. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), The Lion King is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years.

Buyi Zama as “Rafiki”.

Courtesy Photo

Buyi Zama as “Rafiki”.

Baltimore native Keith Bennett portrays “Banzai” in the production. Bennett is a 1981 graduate of Walbrook High School.

“It’s an honor to come back home to Baltimore and be a part of the biggest show of all time,” said Bennett. “The show is in its 20th year and has traveled all over the globe. This show has really paved the way for me, and shows that despite everything, some of us have made it, and can make it. I love this city. Baltimore was good to me growing up, and to come home being a part of this show is a blessing.”

Bennett recalled his high school days, as well as relatives who “played a part” in his performing career.

“I remember some of my teachers and administrators at Walbrook High School,” said Bennett. “I remember Cheryl Pasteur, Melva Ellis, Mr. Roy Pope, Mrs. Louis Lassiter, and many others there who influenced my life. Those were the good ole days.”

He added, “My Aunt Calverta Frazier and my cousin Adrienne Johnson are responsible for my career. They took me to my first audition. They have since passed, and I really want to do a good job for them.”

According to Bennett, after graduating from Walbrook High School, he attended Morgan State University and Towson State University before moving on to New York.

“In New York, I continued to study, train, and do shows,” recalled Bennett. “Then I moved on to Los Angeles, where I continued to study, train and do shows. You really have to have acting, singing, and dancing under your belt to be successful in this business.”

Bennett’s Broadway credits also include A Chorus Line, OH, KAY!, The High Rollers, Horace, and Olympus On My Mind. Tours include: Dancin’, The Tap Dance Kid, Sophisticated Ladies, and Five Guys Named Moe. He landed the role of “Banzai” in 1988.

“I can’t express how much this show has changed my life,” said Bennett. “I have been able to buy real estate and take care of my family. It’s the best of both worlds. I get to be an entertainer, and support my family and myself at the same time. Most people don’t get to do that, but this show has provided me with that opportunity. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I am thankful to God for all that He has done for me through this production.”

Bennett and his wife Deidre, who he met in Los Angeles are the parents of two daughters Tyler and Jordan.

To see Baltimore’s own Keith Bennett in The Lion King, call 866-870-2717 or visit or; Tickets for the show are also available at the Hippodrome Box Office (corner of Eutaw St and Baltimore St) and all Ticketmaster outlets.

Democrats, black candidates win historic victories on Election Night

The blue wave that swept the country last week wasn’t just a victory for Democrats, but a resounding win for African American candidates, who defied the odds and Trumpism, to make history.

In Charlotte, N.C., voters elected the first female African American mayor in the city’s history, choosing Democrat Vi Lyles over Republican Kenny Smith.

In St. Paul, Minn., Melvin Carter became that city’s first black mayor, earning slightly more than 50 percent of the vote in a field that featured 10 candidates and a write-in opponent.

In Virginia, Democrat Justin Fairfax trounced Republican challenger Jill Vogel in the race for lieutenant governor. In January, Fairfax will become only the second African American to hold statewide office in Virginia. Doug Wilder was the first, serving as lieutenant governor from 1986-1990, then as governor from 1990-1994.

Fairfax says his and other Democratic victories could “be the match that sparks the wildfire of progressive” change all across the country.

“All across the world. This is a battle for the nation’s soul,” Fairfax said. “Since I announced my candidacy, this campaign has been about the future, about building a Virginia where all of us have the opportunity to rise.”

Most saw victories by Democrats as a referendum on President Donald Trump, whose record low job approval rating has shrunk to 39 percent according to various reports. Republicans lost races for governor in Virginia, where Ralph Northam easily beat Trump-backed Ed Gillespie, and in New Jersey, where former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy won election as governor, defeating Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Also, in Virginia, attorney general Mark Herring, a Democrat, won reelection over Republican John Adams while Democrats gained at least 10 seats in the House of Delegates.

The party also won key mayoral races in New York, Charlotte, Stamford, Conn., and St. Petersburg, Florida, and in a direct rebuke of Trump and Republicans who have tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act, voters in Maine approved a ballot measure to expand Medicaid under former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.

On Twitter, University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato wrote that the results were a “backlash to Trump and Trumpism, pure and simple.”

Results may have been helped by a strong get out to vote campaign launched by the NAACP. The legendary civil rights organization and its approximately 500,000 adult and youth members around the country were on the frontlines committed to raising awareness for political, educational, social and economic equality of minorities in the electoral process, the organization said in a statement posted on its website.

“The NAACP is actively engaged in increasing the African American responsiveness of citizens to be fully engaged in the democratic process,” the statement read.

Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s outgoing Democratic governor, told reporters that the election night victories were indeed a springboard for future elections, including the 2020 presidential race. “This was a spark plug,” McAuliffe said. “This is the revitalization of the Democratic Party in America.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden said voters clearly sent a message to Trump. “A resounding defeat tonight for President Trump,” Biden tweeted. “Voters across the country rejected the ugly politics we have seen this past year. Instead, they chose candidates who unite and inspire us.”

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus also engaged voters. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), urged everyone to vote.

“The vote is precious, almost sacred,” Lewis said. “It is the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument in a democratic society [so] use it.”

Faith-Based organizations being recruited for third class for real estate certificate program

— The University of Baltimore’s Schaefer Center for Public Policy, in collaboration with Enterprise Community Partners’ Mid-Atlantic office, is inviting faith-based groups in the Baltimore area to be part of the third cohort of the Faith-Based Development Certificate Program.

Leveraging three decades of experience in analyzing local issues and preparing professionals to lead nonprofits, government agencies and public-sector organizations, the Schaefer Center launched the certificate program in 2015 to address one of Baltimore’s most persistent issues— affordable housing.

The program shows faith-based groups in the Baltimore area how to develop their real estate holdings as affordable housing or community facilities. The first two classes of nine participants, from nine faith organizations, went through five monthly training sessions and received technical assistance on a range of topics, eventually earning certification from the center.

Working with the center is Enterprise Community Partners Inc., whose Faith-Based Development Initiative began in the Washington region 11 years ago.

Enterprise provides intellectual and capital resources to support houses of worship in developing affordable housing and other community facilities that help create stable communities of opportunity. The certificate program brings together technical and financial experts with teams from Baltimore’s houses of worship and other faith-based organization. The goal is to enable a faith-based organization to navigate the development process.

To be considered for the program, organizations must complete a Program Intake Assessment Form (, which will be processed by Enterprise Community Partners and the Schaefer Center in order to facilitate training and program content. The assessment forms are due by Thursday, November 30, 2017. The program fee is $1,000 per organization.

Instructional sessions will be held at the University of Baltimore on the last Thursday of each month from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Instructional session dates: January 18, 2018; February 5, 2018; March 15, 2018; April 19, 2018; and May 17, 2018. A site visit will take place on March 8, 2018.

To learn more about Enterprise Community Partners and its Faith-Based Development Initiative, visit: