December 2019 Newsletter

Hundreds Assemble in Annapolis in Support of Fair Treatment for Maryland’s HBCUs

I was honored to stand with hundreds of students, graduates and supporters of Maryland’s historically black colleges and universities in Annapolis last month to call for a settlement to the state’s decades-long legal fight against correcting the discrimination of its past.

Stakeholders from Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore rallied in support of Governor Larry Hogan settling a judge’s ruling mandating the state to resolve years of Maryland’s predominantly white institutions duplicating programs at the historically black institutions, creating an illegal, racially separate system of public higher education. 

Notable names in media, legislature, activism and education supported the rally, which we know will serve as a national example of how citizens can use civic participation to build public institutions which can benefit all communities regardless of race, class and background. I renew my call to Gov. Hogan to settle the lawsuit and to reposition Maryland as a state that affords equity and opportunity to all of its residents. 

News Coverage of the HBCU Rally

We Want Your Input Regarding The Liberty Road Corridor Study

If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to complete the online Liberty Road Study survey:…

Community-generated ideas captured at both open house events and the survey will provide a foundation for recommendations for the study.

For information on the Liberty Road special study timeline and major steps, please visit the Liberty Road study webpage:

Career Opportunities With BCPS

Job openings with schools within or serving students from District 44B include:

Small Business Spotlight

Check out many of the resources and events throughout District 44B designed to help residents start and build small businesses. Want to have your small business spotlighted in our monthly newsletter? Submit an email with your business name, address, service provided, number of years in business, and the best thing about working in your neighborhood and you could be featured in our small business spotlight!

Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce

The SBRC assists business owners with a variety of subjects relevant to starting a new business or growing an established one. SBRC counselors have real-world experience and success and are able to assist with developing business plans, marketing, acquiring finances and more. The SBRC also works to keep clients informed of relevant changes within the business world by providing workshops, seminars, and tutorials.

Catonsville Chamber of Commerce Small Business Resource Center

The Baltimore County Small Business Resource Center now has monthly hours at the Catonsville Chamber of Commerce. On the 4th Wednesday of each month from 10 am to 12 noon you can meet in the chamber office to discuss the services listed here with Leonard R. Lee, Small Business Consultant. Please call Leonard directly at 410-825-6323 or email [email protected] to schedule an appointment. The Catonsville Chamber of Commerce is located at 757 Frederick Road, Suite 102.

Liberty Road Business Association

Our organization comprises more than 50 members of small to large businesses and organizations that operate and have a vested interest in the economic vitality of The Liberty Road Corridor and NW Baltimore County Sector.

LRBA’s core services are business advocacy on the local level, education, and marketing. By providing a venue for business professionals to develop their professional networks and hone their skills, by providing a voice for business and by linking our community cornerstones, “Your LRBA” is the gateway to business in Baltimore.

Security-Woodlawn Business Association
The Security Woodlawn Business Association strives to help businesses grow and expand customer awareness of the benefits of patronizing the businesses in the Security Woodlawn Area.

In The News

A Statement on the 7th Congressional District

I recently made an important announcement regarding my thoughts on the race for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District seat in the US House of Representatives. Click here to read my letter, which I released exclusively on my Facebook page. 

Baltimore County Workgroup on Equitable Policing

I did an interview with the Avenue News to share some insights on the county’s effort to facilitate fairer community policing throughout Baltimore County. 

I’m proud to join an esteemed group of elected officials and community advocates in working to develop and implement best practices in law enforcement and investigations in our communities, particularly in light of new data revealed by the Baltimore Sun which shows that Maryland more than doubles the national average of African Americans in its prison population. Our workgroup is scheduled to have its first meeting on Friday, December 6.

Community Leader Q&A

This month we feature Matthew Riesner, President of the Ingleside Neighborhood Association of Catonsville

Q: Why did you want to be a community liaison?

Several residents and I came together in 2014 to discuss shared concerns and to build an organized coalition to address those issues due to a lack of a neighborhood association. We found there was common ground with longstanding issues, especially with infrastructure that affect our neighborhood that have not been addressed.  I became a community liason because I wanted to help to address these longstanding issues.

Q: How long have you lived in your community?

I lived in the community when I was a child and moved back in 2013. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about working with the community?

I like when we get things done to help our neighbors.

Q: How do you visualize your community's growth and success as a representation of the value of District 44B and Baltimore County at large?

I visualize and strive for our community's future growth as one of planned, quality urbanization, which our neighborhood, District 44b, and Baltimore County have largely lacked as we have grown. We feel that we have taken the first steps towards pushing for quality urbanization and some resemblance of a plan by highlighting the issues and working with our residents, local government, and elected officials towards finding solutions. While we have many challenges such as lack of pedestrian infrastructure, inadequate stormwater removal systems, and zoning laws that often deplete the quality of life for residents we have been able to achieve some improvements through our organization including being able to organize our residents to convince SHA to add sound walls to the I-695 outer loop construction project, bring attention to local elected officials about our experiences dealing with utility companies that tried to pass-the-buck for years regarding unsightly broken utility poles, and have been able to get the ear of developers who introduced largely unpopular plans within our community.  I feel that we are a microcosm of District 44B and areas within Baltimore County's Urban-Rural Demarcation Line (aka URDL) which in the past several decades have gone from being areas of suburban growth to one of urban density and I feel that striving towards a model of a planned, quality urbanization would benefit all communities.

Q: What are some of the challenges you encounter as a community liaison?

The biggest challenge is the pace of improvement. The residents wonder why issues that have been going back decades have not been addressed and they are frustrated when they see other communities in the area having their issues addressed well before our own. 

In The Community

Catonsville Middle’s Boys to Men Tie Ceremony 

Hundreds of parents, grandparents and supporters came out for the Catonsville Middle School Boys to Men Tie Ceremony, where students from Westchester Elementary also participated in the annual coming-of-age event.  The keynote address was delivered by Superintendent Daryl Williams, and as a bonus, my nephews Kelson and Kaden both were presented with their ties.

Morning Star Baptist Church Gives Back for the Holidays

Members of the Morning Star Baptist Church community held a Thanksgiving dinner and giveaway drive last month at its outreach and educational center on Security Blvd. I was fortunate to join leaders and worshipers from the church in collecting and distributing clothing, toys and other items for community members in need in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.