Erricka Bridgeford, a noted social activist in Baltimore City and co-founder of Baltimore Ceasefire 365, received a new vehicle by MileOne Autogroup after openly expressing the burden of being without reliable transportation. The 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan was presented to Bridgeford not only as a token of appreciation for her contributions to the community but was given in response to Bridgeford’s need for a new vehicle.
The SUV was presented to Bridgeford during a special ceremony with Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and MileOne Autogroup CEO Steven Fader at the Motor House in Baltimore City on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.
“A few weeks ago, I told God I didn’t have anymore fight in me,” Bridgeford said with emotion after Fader handed her her new car keys. “I just want to thank everybody who shared, who donated, who sent me inbox messages and who called me,” Bridgeford expressed, also thanking Fader and MileOne, Mayor Pugh, local media, her partners in CeaseFire and the organizers of the event.
A GoFundMe page was organized on January 22, 2019 on behalf of Bridgeford after she spoke out publicly about the stress associated with a lack of dependable transportation to carry out work necessary for her organization. More than $12,000 was raised from 240 people in only a week, and organizers of the page stopped taking donations after receiving a call from Heritage.
Cody Elizabeth Handy, a Baltimore schoolteacher and advocate of Baltimore Ceasefire; and Michelle Belfie, a social entrepreneur, organized the brief celebratory event.
“I am ECSTATIC to announce that your generosity in this GoFundMe campaign caught the attention of Heritage, part of the MileOne Autogroup, in a very big way!,” Bridgeford wrote on her GoFundMe page. “They have decided to GIFT me a car, because so many people cared that I have reliable transportation. Heritage recognizes that transportation is transformational.”
According to Bridgeford, all of the extra funds collected through the GoFundMe campaign will be used for the maintenance fees of her new vehicle and Baltimore Ceasefire 365.
“I read recently about the effort to raise funds for Erricka so that she can purchase a vehicle that will allow her to continue to expand the mission of Baltimore Ceasefire,” Fader said in a news release. “In visiting the GoFundMe page, I quickly realized that this was something we could provide to Erricka and that would allow all of the generous support she received from others to help fuel the programs and activities of Baltimore Ceasefire.”
Mayor Pugh took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to support Bridgeford.
“It’s so good to see great stories being told about the people and the hearts of the folks who are in our city,” Pugh said as she acknowledged Bridgeford’s diligent efforts to reduce gun violence in the city.
Moreover, Bridgeford received a certificate of recognition from Pugh.
“This car means a lot to me because it means that I’ll be able to get around without being worried about breaking down anywhere,” said Bridgeford who was named the 2017 Marylander of the Year by the Baltimore Sun.
“To just be able to get around to do outreach and peace trainings, and in the schools with the students and staff— it’s just amazing,” she continued, explaining that she frequently travels throughout Maryland to conduct mediation and conflict management training.
The West Baltimore native who has dealt with a number of issues with her most recent vehicle, including a hazardous gas leak said, “This means freedom for me.”