As part of National Youth Violence Prevention Week, we wanted to take an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of some of our city’s residents who are Standing Up and Speaking Out against youth violence. That is why yesterday afternoon at City Hall, I had the pleasure of honoring the winners of the 2011 Baltimorphosis awards.
The Health Department created this award as our way of recognizing those who join us in the fight against youth violence. On the evening news, all too often we see reports about people who have made poor choices. Faced with a choice, they chose to embrace a culture of violence.
Rarely do we get to hear about people who make the right choice. Rarely do we hear about people who are teaching kids nonviolent ways to resolve their problems. Rarely do we hear about young adults who have made a conscious decision to spurn violence and work instead to better their community, neighborhood or school.
With the Baltimorphosis awards, we hope to raise the profile of individuals who do make these right choices. Today, we recognized the following four Baltimoreans who are fighting against youth violence:
- Anita Foster, who was nominated by two individuals – Ashley Moore and Ericka McRae was nominated for her passion for getting youth back in school and off the violent streets of Baltimore City.
- Tard Carter, who was nominated by Daniel Webster, for his work as an outreach worker with the Safe Streets East program.
- Michael Williams, who was nominated by Linda Wicklein, for is dedication to making a profound difference in the lives of Baltimore City youth, by teaching kids about the effects of violence through his own story.
- Robert Madden, who was nominated by Regina Lansinger for his work in forming Helping Boys Understand, an after-school program that targets at-risk young males.
We also honored 3 Baltimore youths:
- William Murphy, who was nominated by Jay Gillen, for his efforts as a member of the Baltimore Algebra Project leading his peers to renounce violence by focusing on education, positive youth employment, ending the school-to-prison pipeline, and turning away from gangs and drugs.
- Tavon Smith, who was nominated by Hansberry Moore, for showing younger children in the neighborhood that they can change the direction that their life is heading, just as he was able to positively affect the direction of his life, through a strong desire and hard work to change his ways.
- Molly Phillips, who was nominated by Stanley Smith for starting an started an “Anti-Bullying Campaign” at Northwestern High School.
Thank you all for being part of the solution and for contributing to help to make Baltimore achieve its potential.