Amplify Baltimore – 21st Century Civic EngagementPosted: 2011/01/12
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This past Saturday, I was present at the beginning of a new movement for a better Baltimore. The movement, called Amplify Baltimore, seeks to engage all of Baltimore’s stakeholders, community members, policy makers, politicians to begin the necessary discussions that will assist in taking steps towards improving city life for all residents. The brainchild of Civic Frame’s Founder and President April Yvonne Garrett, Amplify Baltimore will begin as a series of quarterly conversations focusing on various issues that impact the city. Held at the Maryland Institute College of Art, the first event focused on three topics: (1) Who We Are (Demographics) and Where are We Going (City Plan)? , (2) Political Literacy and (3) Public Safety. With over 200 city residents in attendance, the program inspired a healthy amount of dialogue that focused on how the issues of the city could be tackled. On just one condition, however, as Ms. Garrett succinctly stated in the event’s program:
“These conversations are not gripe sessions or an opportunity for individuals to share soliloquies about all that is wrong with Baltimore. In fact,this sort of banter that speaks against our possibility will be quickly be halted.”
During the one of the sessions, a few of the audience members began to go that route and were quickly put back on course.
The conversations were lively, educational and stimulating. Also, the event went the extra mile to engage a wider audience by live-streaming the conference and engaging residents through the use of social media. And boy did city residents run with the social media angle – check out #amplifybaltimore on Twitter to see what I mean.
Overall it was a productive meeting of the minds. There are three more events scheduled during the year which I will be in attendance tweeting and providing updates here. To see the sessions, go to the Live Stream Channel for Amplify Baltimore.