the BALTIMORE WAKEUP. Hope. Action. Change. ARE YOU READY?
HBO's "The Wire" Family, Community Converge
By BMORENEWS Staff
(BALTIMORE - October 15, 2012) - It was no typical Saturday afternoon. It was a very special occasion as cast members from HBO’s “The Wire”, community leaders – including former NAACP CEO and Congressman Kweisi Mfume, and volunteers convened at Connexions School for the Arts from 11 am to 4 pm.
Sonja Sohn, aka “Detective Kima Greggs”, and Donnie Andrews – the man after whom the character “Omar” was developed, had a vision. They were at a symposium at Harvard and designed a community-based solution-oriented project. They named it the BALTIMORE WAKEUP.
In short, there are four groups: 1. Mentoring 2. Greening/Clean up 3. Substance abuse education and prevention, and 4. The wild card (features individual projects). Each group will meet for 8 weeks and then re-convene at the end. The goal is to develop some sustainable projects that carry on a life of their own after the program has ended.
Saturday’s event featured breakout groups and two panel discussions. The first panel featured Joe Jones (ED Center for Urban Families), Kevin Shird (ED Mario Do Right Foundation), Donald Gresham (Citizens House and Relocation Workgroup), Rob Mara (Harwood Community Association), and Denise Richards (New East Broadway Neighborhood Association).
The second panel featured Wire cast members:
Gbenga Akkinagbe – “Chris Partlow”
Donnie Andrews – “the real Omar”
Robert Chew – “Proposition Joe”
Chad L. Coleman – “Cutty”
Sonja Sohn – “Detective Kima Greggs”
Anwon Glover – “Slim Charles” and Clarke Peters – “Detective Lester Freeman” couldn’t be there because of scheduling, however, they will try again the next time.
The Baltimore Wake Up (BWU) is a committed coalition of the city’s most influential non-profit community leaders who share and embody the vision of a better Baltimore through their respective work. BWU was created by ReWired for Change and Why Murder? Inc. to assist communities who want to come together to transform their neighborhoods block by block.
The primary goals of the coalition are to listen to the voices of residents and create access to the resources and training required to address their critical community needs. BWU empowers people to strengthen their own neighborhoods, to improve their quality of life and to shape local policies that affect them most.
The idea for The Baltimore Wake Up was originally cultivated by Donnie Andrews, Founder of Why Murder? and Sonja Sohn, Founder/CEO of ReWired For Change. Over the past few years, along with other high-level academic, business, government and community leaders, they have participated in dynamic panel discussions at Harvard University on topics related to empowering marginalized communities. While all these individuals are important in regard to transforming neighborhoods, there was still a voice missing from the table – that of the people!
Donnie and Sonja were inspired by their conversations with this diverse group of thought leaders and influencers. They knew that the residents of our disenfranchised communities have limited, if any access to a national platform, but are still keeping up the “good fight” on the ground level everyday with little support. Combing that catalyst, their personal life experiences, and the power of the HBO’s groundbreaking show “The Wire”, they created The Baltimore Wake Up.
In the spirit of The Baltimore Wake Up, we invite everyone to support and actively participate in becoming a united front against oppression and spiritual poverty! For far too long, large numbers of our city’s citizens have been prevented from reaping the benefits that our great nation has to offer because they do not have a supported, organized, unified voice that initiates and demands action. The Baltimore Wake Up seeks to change that.
Together we stand. Divided we fall.
Let us all WAKE UP and stand united for ourselves, for each other, and for the future of our children to build a better Baltimore and a better America from the ground up!