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Reflection on First General Body Meeting

Baltimore People’s Climate Movement recently held our first general meeting of 2019 with great success! With gratitude to the No Boundaries Coalition, we were able to host our first gathering at the Avenue Engagement Center on Pennsylvania Avenue. No Boundaries Coalition is based in Sandtown-Winchester, a community in central west Baltimore where many people are all too familiar with environmental injustice and economic lack. Despite many stereotypes, Sandtown is a neighborhood with a lot of life buzzing around. You can never be on the Avenue without feeling the vibrancy and intensity that makes this place stand out. There is a lot of great work being done in Sandtown to uplift its residents, many of whom have roots that stretch over many generations. We hope to increase involvement and excitement from people living in this neighborhood.

There were many highlights from this meeting that made it a success. We had almost fifty people come through on a cold and rainy Monday evening, which was beyond our expectation. It was great to see so many new and familiar faces, including representatives from Communities United, Clean Water Action, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Blue Water Baltimore and others. We are a group committed to building and guiding people power, so we recognize the importance of having events and actions that energize people. One way we do this is by opening spaces for folks to get together and strengthen relationships. This definitely happened at our general meeting. Though we had specific goals in mind, it was beautiful to overhear the many side conversations and pure joy that was ringing through the room. We hope to keep building momentum for people to feel welcome and included in the group and at future events!

Between our sessions, we got some really great questions that asked our core members to look at our organizing and see where there may be gaps. One fundamental question came up about how our work on environmental issues can better include a focus on migration and Baltimore’s newly arrived residents. In other blogs, we have touched on the impacts that environmental change can have on human movement. However, we have yet to talk much about recent migrants in our city and how they have been affected by climate change and other environmental factors both here and in the places they came from. As someone for whom migration has played an essential role in life, I am eager to explore this topic and encourage comments or feedback from readers who want to dig deeper into this.

Another critical piece from the general meeting was a review of our updated platform, which with time and focus we have been able to shorten and make it more comfortable to read. The use of language that can be understood by a more significant number of people is of growing importance to us and is part of why we worked on shortening the platform. It is crucial that we make our values and motivations clear so that everyone who is or wants to be involved knows what we’re about and decides for themselves if this group is something they can get with. The platform is a “living” document, meaning that we want it to adapt over time as leadership becomes stronger and more diverse.

We at BPCM do not choose sides on specific policies and are mainly focused on informing you about what environmental and economic issues Baltimoreans face and how climate change will affect those issues. We encourage our members, supporters, and followers to develop their own opinions and become better informed about what is happening in their neighborhoods. This doesn’t mean we shy away from talking about upcoming bills, ballot measures, and laws, but we aim to offer plain and simple information about what benefit or harm they may cause, instead of sharing personal opinions about bills.

The next BPCM-sponsored event will happen on Tuesday, April 9th at the Langston Hughes Community Resource Center (5011 Arbutus Avenue). It will be a presentation and open discussion on the importance of health, green spaces and chance to improve community conditions. Some interactive workshops will follow, and food will be provided. We are excited about this collaboration with the GROW Center and hope you show up!

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