President’s Address, MRIA Annual Meeting May 3, 2016

By Steve Howard

I am remarkably proud of this neighborhood. A year ago, I stood here and challenged you all to meet people who are different from you. And you rose to the challenge. I said that short-term and long-term change begins with the folks in this room.

Short-term change is already here. We have tripled the number of Bolton Hill residents who participate in the No Boundaries Coalition. We formed the “Partie with a Purpose” and raised both money and awareness.

The Mount Royal School came to us, asking for funds for their sixth-grade trip. As a board, we donated $500. But our Churches and Schools committee said that was not enough. They put on a chili fundraiser, and, with your help, raised an additional $3683!

The number of exciting and fun events right here in Bolton Hill is thoroughly impressive.

  • Memorial Players
  • Tiffany Series Concerts
  • BoltonStock
  • Crab feasts
  • School fundraisers
  • Soup nights
  • Parties with a Purpose
  • Parties without a purpose
  • Flash mobs
  • MICA Art Walk
  • Festival on the Hill

And much much more. If you can’t find something valuable to do in Bolton Hill, you just are not trying.

But it’s much more than having fun things to do. It’s about harnessing the creativity of our humanity. We do that here. The folks in this room already get it. And we are sharing that mindset in a new way.

When the rest of the city unleashes their creative potential the way that Bolton Hill already does, that is when we will be sure that Baltimore is living up to that old motto, “The Greatest City in America.”

We are so close. So close. Short-term change is already here. We still have some long-term challenges.

Our criminal justice system is still broken. Our schools still have challenges. And we need to find productive employment and living-wage jobs for all our citizens.

We are on the right track. We had elections just a week ago, a peaceful transition of power that demonstrates our commitment to a civil society.

Keep up the good work. Continue to protect our historic architecture. Continue to protect the beauty of our green spaces. Continue to work with our public safety partners: the Police Department, the State’s Attorney’s Office, Midtown Benefits, and MICA Public Safety.

But most of all, nurture the Bolton Hill spirit. Keep the creative energy flowing.

And share it. Share your creative energy.

It is in giving that we receive; it is in sharing that we grow.

To all of the MRIA members in this room, I tell you it has been an honor to serve as your president for the past two years.

I thank you for that honor.