My family moved during my teenage years to the neighborhood of single-family and semi-detached homes known as Ednor Gardens-Lakeside, which sits at the foot of where Memorial Stadium once stood. My mother was always proud to mention that the developer of Ednor Gardens-Lakeside was also the developer of the Guilford neighborhood, with its stately homes and beautifully-landscaped yards.
One other Black homeowner lived on the street when we moved in. White, elderly neighbors on both sides welcomed us to the neighborhood. I came to realize that those visits were more like farewells. Within a year or so, the block underwent a complete racial transformation. My family and the other Black families who moved there created a close-knit collection of neighbors who treated one another well and took a lot of pride in their homes.
That kind of pride and sense of community still can be found in Baltimore and across this region, despite the enormous challenges sometimes confronted by those of us who live here.
People who live in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Howard County and elsewhere across our region might view their lives, their communities, and their world through different prisms. But the kid going to football practice at John Carroll School in Harford County wants much the same out of American life as the kid going to a pre-daylight football practice at Dunbar High School’s field in East Baltimore. Their families want much the same for them.
All kinds of people live in and around Baltimore, with all different kinds of stories to tell. Our perspectives might be shaped by income, education, occupation, religion, race, gender, sexuality and countless other factors.
As the opinion editor at The Baltimore Banner, I will strive to provide opportunity and space for people representing a broad range of communities and institutions to have their say, to tell their stories.
For far too long, news organizations have done their communities and themselves a disservice by relying on public officials or the powerful or well-connected to present views on their opinion pages. Large segments of many communities believed, rightly, that their voices were not valued by their local media outlets.
Most often missing are the many voices of people who, despite challenges all around them, are successfully raising children and grandchildren, helping their neighbors and cleaning up the whole block when needed. Also missing are the views of people who can offer fresh perspectives for understanding and perhaps even overcoming some of the challenges.
I began my career as a reporter at the Associated Press, working in bureaus in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast. I then worked as a reporter at the St. Petersburg Times, where I established a beat covering housing and racial and economic justice issues. The largest part of my newsroom career was spent at the company that became Bloomberg Industry Group. I was a senior editor of publications covering environmental legislation and regulations.
My career and life experiences inform my storytelling. As the foundation of all journalism, the storytelling consists of learning and teaching all at once. It has particular meaning and significance for me.
Through its opinion page, The Banner will have the opportunity to inform and interest readers in ways that go beyond discussion of what is on the news pages.
We will publish a full range of opinions, through letters and Community Voices submissions. Our views aren’t shaped entirely by whether we’re on the right or on the left. Each of us has a different life experience and understanding of the events all around us. I hope The Banner’s opinion offerings will challenge our readers to consider differing perspectives that will provoke spirited, yet respectful, debate. The goal is to better understand our communities by hearing from the voices that best represent them.