February 2020 Newsletter

A Busy Season of Advocacy

The last few weeks have been an exciting period for me, as I began my new work as a member of the state senate, and continue my advocacy for Baltimore City and Baltimore County residents on important issues facing our communities.

I've been fortunate to serve as a sponsor or co-sponsor on a number of bill proposals, and I've placed particular emphasis on legislation to help our community associations have greater leverage in addressing nuisance properties, limiting the use of cell site simulators in police surveillance tactics, helping to redefine shared child custody standards and new protections for juvenile offenders.

All of these bills and the dozens of others I'm currently working on and will be supporting in the future are designed to help residents in District 44 and throughout the state of Maryland achieve their full potential in multiple areas of their lives. All Marylanders deserve to live peacefully in safe communities, to raise families with dignity and to have their full right to due process and fair justice realized, regardless of class status or age. 

Read below for a partial list of the upcoming hearings for bills I am either sponsoring or co-sponsoring.

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Small Business Spotlight

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!

This month’s featured entrepreneur is community activist Arthur 'Squeaky' Kirk

Describe your business and how your work helps to impact communities throughout District 44.

I am the director and founder of the Ruth M Kirk Recreation and Learning Center, previously known as the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, which was closed for over 25 years before we started renovating it in 2011. After spending about $50,000 of my own funds to get the place ready to operate, we started connecting with the schools in the area. We started with a coat drive which brought in over 900 coated for three schools in 2013. Next, we started a GED program for adults where it was once said that our classes were bigger than courses offered at BCCC; a partnering organization of ours.

I met Larry Hogan a few weeks before election day and he told me he remembered how close my mom and former Governor Ehrlich were, and he told me that whether he won or lost the election against  Lt. Governor Brown, he would make sure I got some help. He couldn't believe that I didn't receive any local help for politicians since he knew how much my mom had done to help everyone.  About two days after he won the election, I received a call from him saying that help was on the way. After meeting with his staff, we got computers for the kids,  landscaping done through Bell nursery and Home Depot; all donated services. We wound up with a community garden and flower bed.

What is one of the most important lessons you’ve learned about business ownership in your career?

My mom Ruth M. Kirk was a delegate for 28 years but a community activist for over 50 years,  and was labeled the 'Garden Lady of West Baltimore' by then-Mayor William Donald Schafer, so we put a mural on the wall in honor of her. It was our way of showing how willing we were to spend our lives sacrificing to help our community and the kids, despite doing our own fair share of wrong.

What is the biggest benefit of living and working as an entrepreneur in our district? 

The biggest benefit I get from it all is that it all started as a promise to my mom that I would do good for our community and kids. I have also worked for the Baltimore City Fire Department as a dispatcher for 19 years. My people get to see the changes I've made in my life, from once running the same streets doing everything under the sun to now doing what I consider the work of God and blessing them everyday I can with whatever I have to give.

For neighbors who would like to follow in your footsteps, what is one piece of advice you would give to help them get started?

I have learned that many people do not have their basic needs met. It's hard to educate hungry kids, and that's why we continue to try to provide the basic needs so our kids and our community aren't starving for anything. I have hundreds of people ask me for advice on how I got started, and I just tell them that they have to understand that not many people will come to your rescue and no one is coming with tons of money to help you. Get used to hearing the word 'no,' but don't be discouraged; let the lack of support feed your hunger for success and prove all of your doubters wrong.

Career Opportunities With BCPS

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

In the Community

Students from Featherbed Elementary School traveled to Annapolis last month to speak with legislators about education funding and taxes. They capped off their visit with a tour of the capital and a pizza party! Thank you to Principal Michelle Webster for helping to make this trip happen!


Legislative Resources

Check out several of the digital and social media resources you can use to find out more about the work of the Maryland Legislature, regular meetings, and policy positions. 

calendar.png Upcoming Events | Click here to see upcoming events

Black History Month 2020 Events (Courtesy of Visit Baltimore)

Kuumba Showcase

Creative Alliance
Feb. 15, 12 - 3 p.m.
Kuumba means Creativity! Experience the beauty and creativity of black cultures through enriching performances by local students and Baltimore-based artists, in honor of Black History Month. This year’s theme is Black Dance Through Time! Explore the evolution of Black American dance from the early 20th century to the present day! Enjoy live music and dance performances, family activities, Baltimore-based vendors, and more!
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The History of the NAACP The Baltimore Connection

Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Feb. 16, 2 - 4 p.m.
Enjoy a living history performance, film and talk about the NAACP and its leaders from the Jim Crow and Civil Rights era. See a living history performance of activist Juanita Jackson Mitchell, hear a lecture on the Baltimore branch by Professor Prudence Cumberbatch and conclude with a film screening of Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall & The NAACP (57 min). NAACP artifacts and panels covering 97 years of Maryland history will be on view.
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Smithsonian Channel Premiere: Black in Space

Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Feb. 19, 6 - 9 p.m.
Be the first to see this new documentary before it airs on the Smithsonian Channel. Reginal F. Lewis Museum will premiere screening of Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier. This documentary charts the United States’ efforts to get the first African American astronaut into space at the height of the Cold War and Civil Rights Movement. Panel discussion to follow.
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Museum Nights: RBG (Red, Black & Green)

Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Feb. 20, 6 - 9 p.m.
Celebrate Black History Month at the Lewis with the return of Museum Nights. Enjoy the sounds of DJ Tanz, experiment with printmaking inspired by the exhibition Elizabeth Catlett: Artist as Activist and grab your team and participate in Black history and culture trivia for prizes.
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All Black Everything: A Poetry Workshop

American Visionary Art Museum
Feb. 22, 1pm-3pm
Nationally renowned and award winning slam poet Meccamorphosis will teach participants how to transform random text from books, magazines and newspapers into black out / erasure poetry. This technique fuses mark making and language to maximize creativity. All materials provided.
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