Food & Drink

‘We're So Talented': Baltimore Youth Share Positive Images After Uprising

A Baltimore non-profit has spent the year since the 2015 uprising sharing images that cast the youth of the city in a more positive light. 

In the days after the 2015 Baltimore uprising, thousands of dollars in donations poured into the Fund for Rebuilding Baltimore.

More than $700,000 in grants went to people and organizations affected by the uprising. Money also went toward strengthening a sense of community.

Wide Angle Youth Media is one of the organizations trying to show a more positive image of Baltimore youth.

The non-profit serves more than 400 youth each year through photography, design, radio, digital storytelling and videography classes.

After the death of Freddie Gray, as violence, destruction and a police show of force were unfolding, Wide Angle Youth Media gathered its cameras and took its young people outside.

"We started documenting the protests,” said Sheila Wells, Wide Angle Youth Media communications director. “We really incorporated that narrative into all of the work that we've done over this past year."

That work culminated this week in a new book called “This is Baltimore.” It’s a collection of 120 images from the protests, but also portraits of and quotes from Baltimore youth as they see themselves.

"A lot of the rowdy stuff triggered a lot of more positive things,” 16-year old Jeffrey Obike said.

The book project was funded by a $14,500 grant from the Baltimore Community Foundation. More than 40 grants were given out from money donated after the Baltimore riots.

Wide Angle Youth Media held a dozen photo workshops across the city and helped its students curate hundreds images. The book sets out to show Baltimore's youth as resilient and hopeful kids with big dreams.

“It's really this, just a collection of stories that we hope provide a really meaningful and powerful landscape of what it means to be a young person in Baltimore city,” Wells said.

High school senior Niajea Randolph is a poet and created a video for a web-based presentation that accompanies the book. In it, she talks about her experience on April 27, 2015 -- the day protestors filled the streets of Baltimore. Niajea has also become an ambassador of sorts and wants to share more projects that might change the perception of kids in her city.

"For the youth of Baltimore, I think we're the most creative people ever. We're so talented," Randolph said.

“There's so much history. There's so much music, food, things to do, things to see in the city that people really need to know about,” Obike said. "I think ‘This is Balitmore’ means despite what you may have heard, we're proud of our home and this is who we are."

Contact Us