Teacher Workshop: Neighborhood Historians (Continuity and Change Over Time)
How can photographs challenge students to gauge what has changed and what has stayed the same? Hear about a collaboration between SAAM and Voices of 21217, a program that amplifies youth voices in Baltimore, MD. See the activities that challenged students to find connections to their city’s past and document their present. What stories can their photographs, paired with some taken 50 years ago, tell us about how history is made? This workshop, which was recorded on December 15, 2021, is designed for educators of all grade levels and disciplines and is presented in conjunction with the exhibition “Welcome Home: A Portrait of East Baltimore, 1975- 1980.”
— (Karim Amin, hello everyone! My name is Karim Amin. I am the executive director of Voices of 21217, and well, and, have been a long-time educator in Baltimore Tour in Baltimore City public schools, charter schools, and things like that, so I have a lot of experience working with youth — and so you'll learn a little bit more about my program as we go through the training.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah, so the reason that we are having both of us here and the reason the slides are formatted the way that you see in front of you is because we're going to be having kind of a conversation, um, across time whereas, where I from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and representing our collection, we'll be looking at a set of photographs made 50 years ago in West Baltimore. And then Karim, as a Baltimore native and representative of contemporary West Baltimore, is going to be talking about today. And so we'll have this conversation back and forth — if you don't know a thing about Baltimore, that is totally okay, because the intention is to uncover our gaps in understanding and figure out how, how we can fill them. So, continuity and change over time just as a tiny bit of background information, if you're not an AP U.S. History teacher, is apparently one of the most challenging AP U.S. History essay questions to teach for, because students are often more comfortable identifying the things that have changed than identifying the things that have stayed the same. And so, when we're thinking about that — even in the art classroom, or the history classroom, or the general ed (education) classroom and in elementary school — recognizing that there's a lot to be learned by looking at two points in time and thinking about: 'Why in the world were some things allowed to stay the same, and how did it come to pass that some things are different?' So, that's like, kind of the thesis of our time together. And in order to get into all of this, we're going to be using some thinking routines, — surprise, surprise — with some of the historical photographs from the Smithsonian's exhibition called "Welcome Home," and then we're going to look at some of the works made by Korean students just this past year. So, to get us started, we're going to take a look at this photograph. And, my invitation to you, as always, is to look. This time, if you're familiar with this kind of close looking, you'll notice that I have actually included the tombstone, or the information the label text, on the bottom right — and that's intentional; this is fair play. So, my invitation to you is first to just pay really close attention to the photograph and look all over it.
Notice the light, notice contrast, notice texture, notice the framing, notice how close or far from the subject the photographer is, think about what might be cropped out of the photograph, so the world outside this image.
Think about the way that the photographer is guiding your eyes, so depending on where the photographer stands in relation to their sitter, or their subject, they've arranged the picture in such a way that we're being called to look at something.
And looking ten-by-two is a way to invite all of us to really, really slow down — surprise. Um, but the first thing is the 10 things that you see, kind of, first. So into the chatbox, make a quick list of 10 things that are just like, ready to like, 'boop!' like, you can just point to them — one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, just drop those into the chatbox. Boarded windows! Thank you, Sarah, you gotta started. [throat clearing] Excuse me.
Oooooh! Sarah has noted an absence — so those points seem to be missing behind the head of these young men. Broken brickwork. Melissa, now you know I'm gonna ask what do you see that makes you say that the building was once grand. Would you be willing to unmute and share it aloud? What are you noticing that you could point to.
— (Melissa Clark) Well actually, um, so, so it's —there are two things. And one is the caption, and I know because of the, of you know the background of these photographs, that the photographers didn't really caption these with, you know [unintelligible] two-or-three-word titles.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yes.
— (Melissa Clark) They wrote notes on the back of the, um, photographs and they might be pretty lengthy, and this one was.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah.
— (Melissa Clark) And this one says, "Banker-Gunther Mansion, Butchers Hill."
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Hmmm.
— (Melissa Clark) And it does look like a very substantial building. You wouldn't necessarily think it might have been somebody's home, but it-it's it's got, you know rounded portions, and- and pieces that jut out, and it's all brick — that would have been an expensive, you know, material to use.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah, yeah.
— (Melissa Clark) And it's, you know, it's, but —so it was grand, but now it's kind of falling apart, it's deteriorating.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Thank you, that's so brilliant! So noticing the photographer's word choice in the notes that are provided on the right side. So I see like, "well to do," and Melissa said the word, "mansion," and noticing all these architectural details. But then also, at the same time [computer glitch] we've got [unintelligible] saying there are weeds there, Jennifer's noticing broken windows, and then also we have these three people, three Black males or identify as them, [audio echo] and it seems as though there's this kind of, gate, kind of between them and the building. Okay, so, that — if that's our first pass at 10, I'm gonna invite everybody in the room to unmute — and we're gonna step on each other and that's okay, but this is just a chance for us to all speak. Name one more thing that we haven't named, so we're gonna aim for another list of ten. Who would like to start us off, and I can call on you if you'd prefer.
— (Melissa Clark) The subjects all have their arms kind of stuck out by kind of akimbo.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Okay.
— (Melissa Clark) They're very, it's a very powerful kind of stance. Even the young one in the middle, you know.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Beautiful, yeah.
— (Melissa Clark) They look — they look very comfortable, and like they belong there, you know.
— (Karim Amin) Mhm.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Thank you.
— (Jen Strausser) They look very serious.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Tell me more, [computer glitch] what do you see that makes you say "serious"?
— (Jen Strausser) Their expressions, their body language, I think, I mean they definitely look relaxed but they look more like, you know, it's not like they're smiling in front of a — you know, a statue, or, you know, or, something that they're visiting.[computer glitch] It looks like, they're like, it's almost like making a statement, but I'm not sure what that is.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah, okay so, so both it's not like a special occasion place where they are, they're—
- (Jen Strausser) Right.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) They, they feel as though they belong there, and also there's a certain amount of wariness. Did I understand you?
- (Jen Strausser) Yeah, [computer glitch] kind of like, I'm trying to figure out like what they're conveying with their expressions. Like, are they happy to be there? Is this something they [elongated 'they,' computer glitch] wanted to be in front of? Um, I just, I can't figure out like, what they're, why they're, you know, why they're, they have more of a serious look than a look.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) You have anticipated my next question, so let's put a pin in that because that's actually a really important component to me of this photograph. Okay, can I hear from like two other people? What's something you see in the picture that we haven't mentioned yet?
— (Angels Natal Asensio) It almost, it almost feels like the photographer asked them, "can I take a picture of you?" And then they said, "okay," and they're kind of posing and waiting for the photographer to finish taking the picture. [laughs]
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah, yeah.
— (Angels Natal Asensio) Wondering, "are you done yet?"
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) [laughs] I like that, that's such an interesting story. Somebody else jumped in. Please, please keep going.
— (Sara Mellissa Wenger) No, I was just gonna add on that they seem impatient.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mmm.
— (Sara Mellissa Wenger) But I also have this weird feeling like they're super proud and claiming territory.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mmm.
— (Sara Mellissa Wenger) Just with the, I guess like the gesture, or like the pose that they kind of have, but they also seem really impatient the more I look at them. [laughs]
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah, so there's this like — there's a comfort, but a distance, but a patience, but an impatience. There's, there's something kind of, something like almost captured. A captured moment that's a little indescribable it seems like, and I appreciate that.
— (Sara Mellissa Wenger) [laughs]
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Sarah of course is also mentioning that her ancestors wear long underwear [laughing]. So, it's a surprise -
— (Karim Amin) [laughs]
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) - that we have these bare-chested men in this picture, which I — are young men, um, and a boy. So, yeah this is like a, a noteworthy item to put on our list, thank you. Okay so, let's keep going. We've already started to kind of like pick at the edges of this, and my invitation to you right now, is when you put the image and the caption together, what kind of a thesis statement could there be? Like, what — what could the big idea of this photograph be? What's the point? And if you need to talk it out because that's the way you think, unmute and jump in. Otherwise, drop an idea into the chatbox. Okay what's the main idea or big idea of this question, —er, question [laughs]— photograph. Accessibility-
— (Karim Amin) Hmmm.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) -of the once inaccessible, I like that.
— (Karim Amin) Definitely put a pin, put a pin in that, and I'll be talking about that a lot later.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah, thank you. And Sarah, if you're willing to add a piece of evidence for what you see or know, I would love to know what you could point to in the picture or in the tombstone text that would support that.
— (Sarah Kohrs) Sure, so what I noticed was — and I can't tell for sure, but there's one particular window or doorway that seems to be open-
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mhm.
— (Sarah Kohrs) -and available access and there's — you can tell that it's worn, that what brickwork's worn is that people have gone in there
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah.
— (Sarah Kohrs) And then of course I mentioned before about the points above the African American gentleman, they're gone.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yes.
— (Sarah Kohrs) So, you can really see where people have gone over um the wall essentially and been able to go into.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yep.
— (Sarah Kohrs) And so, it looks like something that people have — are very familiar with going in and out of now.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yep.
— (Sarah Kohrs) But, when you look at the caption, it was a mansion at one time, and so that particular wall had a very different intention at one time. It kept-
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yes!
— (Sarah Kohrs) -people out. And so that's a really interesting concept, of being able to get into something now that at one time was a, was an intentional barrier.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yes, beautiful, thank you. Some notes about, perhaps the worth of the — or the value — of these buildings, um which I know Karim will get into later also. The stance looks to me like they're saying "this is my neighborhood," but that also, Melissa is noting, that the neighborhood is in flux or changing. Would anyone else like to add an idea about what the main idea of this image might be?
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) I, I like, think about abandonment.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mmm.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) Like, abandoned homes, but they, but they're still, like, there so I don't know if it's like, lingering abandonment, but or if it's like, the boys may be abandoned too. But I definitely feel like the building has been abandoned and it's kind of, like, run down and just a sense of like, loss in memory.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah, thank you.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) I don't know how to put that as a main idea, though.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) [laughs] I like it, I like that you posited it as a outspoken idea. That was, it's wonderful to hear other voices.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) I mean, I like what Sarah said in the chatbox, actually.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) She's probably better at writing down the ideas than I am.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) [laughing] That's okay. Melissa's adding "wouldn't it be a great community center?" I love this. Okay, so then, let's catch in the chatbox. Everybody just ask a quick question. Like, if you were gonna ask a question in order to better understand the main idea of this photograph, what question would you ask and of whom? And we're not going to read all of them, this is just the — to get in the practice of posing a question and also identifying the person or source you would ask that question to. So, one minute to write a question and identify the source that you would ask.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Karim, who — what question would you ask and who would you ask it of?
— (Karim Amin) I would say, where are these young men now?
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Oh, I love that, yes.
— (Karim Amin) Are they still, are they still around? If they are, you know, what are they doing? Do they still live in those neighborhoods? Because Butcher Hill was an expensive neighborhood that then kind of went down a bit, as you can see, around the early 80s, late 70s early 80s, with urban renewal.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mhm.
— (Karim Amin) Then, now it's an expensive neighborhood again. So it was like, gentrified, and un-gentrified, and gentrified again. And, so I'm wondering if those young men still live in that, and they if they still live in that, —and they won't be young men anymore — but do they still live in the neighborhood? What are they doing.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah.
— (Karim Amin) And, yeah, that — that's what I would, that's what I would see.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) That personal history part seems really important. That's awesome, thank you. Alright, so while the questions filter in, you already know what we're going to do, which means that we can do it faster this time. Oops, hold on friends — preview. Again, really quickly, I just need 10 step — 10 things that you can notice about this new photograph, which is of the same neighborhood, same time period, um perhaps just a different part. What do you notice? So, I notice the dog, especially because I am dog crazy right now [laughs]. Melissa is noticing perhaps multiple generations, what more are we noticing? Scaffolding, thank you. So we got the scaffolding on the left side, some reflections of the scaffolding in the window there. Two dogs! Jen, are you a dog lover too, I wonder? [laughs] There's glass, okay love it, so these are not boarded up windows, these are windows with glass in them, like it. Anything more that we're noticing? No railing on the stairs, thanks Dan. Valerie's noticing there's a sign in the window, the stoop — so this white marble stoop is like, a signature part of this particular neighborhood in Baltimore. We actually have, um, a work by a sculptor in the Renwick's collection which is a realistic pillow sculpted out of one of the stoops that had been discarded into a public space. So, back to this idea of beautiful marble stairs that then got discarded, and now are finding value again. This kind of ebb and flow of the city. An exterior entrance for coal or similar basement access — Sarah, you are always the one to go to for like, really important details that I would not necessarily notice. So this little door on the bottom right corner of the photograph. Okay, so this this space had heat, and, and basement access. Okay so — oh my gosh you guys, what am I doing.
— (Karim Amin) [laughs]
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Nope, it's well, then we're just going to talk it through because my animation's not working. So then, um we've named all the things. What is the big idea of this photograph? Neighbors often visit on their front steps, an extension of their living rooms. This entire block of East Baltimore Street is being renovated through the private enterprise in Butchers Hill. So what's the big idea of this photograph? The closeness of neighbors.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) Are we allowed to unmute?
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah! Jump in, please.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) Okay, well the title is together, and it kind of reminds me of back in my neighborhood in New York City when all of like, the kids and like, the grandmas, and the babysitters would hang out on the stoops-
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) -and listen to the radio.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mhm.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) And it was just kind of like, one of those communal things that your neighborhood does.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mhm.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) I haven't seen it here cause it's kind of like suburban in Virginia [laughs]/
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) [laughs]
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) But I can, I can imagine that this happens in Baltimore if there's like, um neighborhoods like, more urban neighborhoods. But this idea that kind of like [audio echo] news passes through the stoops.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mmm.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) Like-
- (Karim Amin) Mhm.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) -you hear things that are going on in the neighborhood from like, people if you're hanging out on the stoop. So that, that's what I think.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) I love that, thank you for that. And so, Jen, and Sarah, and Angels are all backing up this idea of community and closeness, but I really appreciate this added layer of personal experience of like, the grandma telephone network everybody hears everybody's stuff that's happening in the building, and keeps an eye out for each other, all these different things.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) Yeah like, all the gossip happens on the stoop.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Right, [laughs] totally. Um, and these really important social interactions. Oh yeah, the grapevine, perfect. Okay, so this seems like, it seems like we've come to a more comfortable understanding of what this particular photograph is about, whereas last one, we wrote we felt a bunch of tension, we — or, or distance, or uncertainty or something like that in this photograph. It feels a little bit like we get the idea a little bit, more like we got that, we put our hands around that. And I think that's an interesting thing to just make note of. Um, so the last thing then, would be, even though we've come to a comfortable thesis, a statement of what this photograph is about, if you were going to ask a question to better your understanding, what question would you ask and who would you ask it of? Will you put some questions into the chatbox, please? There's a reason I'm driving them toward the chatbox, 'cause we're going to have like a, just a running list of, of queries in the chatbox. What time of day? Yeah, the, the light in this image, it's definitely coming from kind of the upper-right side of the photograph. Are you related to each other or just neighbors? [audio echo] What questions do we have and who would we ask them of? Are you new to the neighborhood or have you been living here for a long time? Interesting. Why were the three young men's race brought up in what you see in this one, but not for this family? Interesting, thank you. Do you work together too or just perhaps live together? Do the children still live in the neighborhood? Beautiful. Okay, so while the last few questions filter in, I'll just let you know that, as Karim was talking about earlier, Butchers Hill was this really affluent neighborhood, it was actually, sort of got settled in the 1850s. It was an area that initially, was kind of away from the core of Baltimore, and then Baltimore grew up around it by 1915. And, um, because it was an affluent neighborhood, because it was like, very much pre-zoning laws, there's this really wide variety of architecture and on, I think it's the north-south streets if I'm remembering correctly, let me see oh sorry — east-west streets have the big homes, then the medium-sized homes are on the north-south, um, streets, and then the small homes are kind of on the alley, so there's like a mixture of sizes of homes, lots of people living there. It's this hilly topography, about a thousand buildings in this one particular neighborhood. And the name Butchers Hill kind of fell out, you didn't use that in like, around World War I. That's like, people weren't calling it Butchers Hill anymore, um and in fact this guy that grew up there said, there was no "Butchers Hill, you were from East Baltimore." But then in the 70s, at the time that this photograph was taken, when we're talking, you know, seeing this note about renovation through private enterprise, the neighborhood association resurrects the name Butchers Hill, and the Southeast community organization started to buy and sell homes to be redeveloped for single-family occupancy. So, this is a very much as, as Karim was saying before, a neighborhood in transition. So, I want to show you the um, exhibition trailer, because in this we get a little bit more of a glimpse not only into the neighborhood that's being photographed, but also the photographers themselves. Because it's kind of an exceptional situation in which these three women photographers were going into the community with the purpose of kind of documenting it, and as we watch this I want you to just kind of start to flag which of the questions in the chatbox have actually been answered by the trailer, or anything that I just said, and then also, what new questions do you have so occupying this position of curiosity. If we have any trouble with audio just give me a wave and we'll figure it out together, so here we go.
— (Trailer Audio for "Welcome Home" Exhibition, Narrator) The exhibition "Welcome Home" originated as a photography survey that was carried out in the 1970s in the neighborhood of East Baltimore. A photography survey is sort of a look at a place, an attempt to understand and capture it. In this case groups, of photographers were funded by the National Endowment for the Arts to survey, or look closely at places across the United States in celebration of the bicentennial of the nation's founding. What was unique to the East Baltimore survey, was that it was carried out by three women photographers: Linda Rich, Elinor Cahn, and Joan Netherwood. Linda Rich, the project leader, had just come to Baltimore to teach documentary photography at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Elinor Cahn and Joan Netherwood, who were both local, were two of Rich's students at MICA. In fact, they were two of her older students. The three of them worked on the project for over five years. During which, they made more than ten thousand exposures. When we think of Baltimore, we think of a city that looks different from the Baltimore in these programs, and that's in part due to the historical background of who lived in Baltimore at that moment; immigrants to Baltimore in the 1800s, were mostly German, but certainly Eastern European, and that's really the community that stayed there and is represented in this documentation. The photographers documented a wide range of interior and exterior spaces. They went on top of buildings to take broad vistas, but they also did a kind of street photography — so you have a sense of the neighborhood itself. I think that it did affect the relationship of the photographers with the community, that all three photographers were women. Being women, in some ways, gave them access to homes where other people might not have had that easy access. They started out going through the churches and other community institutions. That's how they were introduced to their subjects. And then gradually, they were brought into the private lives of their subjects, and they photographed christenings and backyard lunches. They went indoors and photographed the details of people's lives, and they also visited people's workplaces. In order to document the community, the photographers really focused on what was important to its members. Work, tradition, family, religion. For example, there's a photograph by Joanne Netherwood of Melissa Maceroni after her first communion, and I love this picture for all the many things that it does. On the left-hand side of the picture, she has included the photographer who is taking a picture of this girl. She's also included on the right-hand side a piece of his equipment, which is the umbrella, of the flash umbrella that balances light onto her, and then more or less at the center is Melissa herself. So you have the photographer, making a picture of a photographer, making a picture of this girl who is posed standing next to Christ, and this is her unique, special moment in her childhood. And at the same time, between her and the umbrella is a line of little girls all dressed identically, and so, it is wonderful moment of both the individual being pictured, and the performance of sameness that is part of citizenship in East Baltimore at this time. What I-
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Okay, this is a wonderful, trailer, but I'm going to pause it here because it goes on a bit longer than we need it to. Um, so just distill in your, in your head for a moment, the ideas that just flowed past you. Scroll back through the chatbox and just notice, have any of our questions been answered so far. And then, with all that in mind, what questions remain? What do we still need to know about East Baltimore, about this time period, about the people in the pictures, the neighborhoods? What, where are our gaps in knowledge, and how do we turn those gaps into questions? Sarah's got one question answered, love it. "Question: it looks very multicultural in these photographs is it still that way?"
— (Karim Amin) I had a very a similar question, actually.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah, awesome. "How did the diverse communities engage with each other beyond the photographs?" Right, I love it. "How the fact that women photographers took the photos, how did that impact the expressions and stances of the subjects?" Yeah so, when we look at portraiture at all, um there's a — it's sort of a conversation between the sitter and also the person making the portrait. "How's the culture — shared culture and community gathering changed?" I love that, so you know this idea of connection, connection, connection, we see that as a running theme. The places where people get together the, the, the, you know, the grapevine, these workplaces, all these things, and particularly in the past 18 months, um, this idea of culture, and community, and where we gather has, has been, um, shifted dramatically. Anything more that we're still curious about? "Women's work, how has it changed over time?" Love it.
— (Karim Amin) Mmmm. Good question, good question.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) I think also, it's a really interesting, sort of the adjunct to that is, there was an emphasis on the, um, Eastern European migration that was happening between that portion of the world and Baltimore, and as people became more familiar with Baltimore City, like how did their thinking, how did their work change. There's harmony in this community and people together, how did the community feel about being documented? Beautiful. "Do the children still live and work there?" And Melissa is interjecting, and it's important to note that this project went on for five years, so this level of engagement with the community —ten thousand exposures— it's a very [laughs] documented community, for sure. So, we're going to continue to kind of build questions, but as a bridge between past and present, I wanted to — sorry, my brother is calling me, he doesn't know we're having a workshop right now.
— (Trailer Audio for "Welcome Home" Exhibition, Narrator) The exhibition "Welcome Home" ori-
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) I'm just gonna push all the buttons this evening. Um, I wanted to show everyone that what we have been talking about so far is the neighborhood that's kind of in the circle there on the right side. So this is our East Baltimore, kind of, hub. Um, and Baltimore, Karim, has so many neighborhoods, and each neighborhood has like, a really strong sense of identity, and pride, and, and I didn't know that. I've been a tourist in Baltimore but I've never ever lived there.
— (Karim Amin) Mm.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) And I just wonder if you could talk to us a little bit about what you understand of your city, and then tell us a little bit more about your neighborhood, because you are in West Baltimore, and you've been documenting West Baltimore with your students.
— (Karim Amin) It's, it's very interesting growing up in Baltimore. We are very much an East, East, what they call the "East Side or West Side," and, so we're very much divided into east and west, and that's with all the neighborhoods. So you may have someone that lives in East Baltimore, but they literally will never go to West Baltimore. They may fly to, to Germany, they may go to Spain — um where you're about to [unintelligible] right, you know, very soon— but will literally never go to West Baltimore — and vice versa. People that are in West Baltimore will never go to East Baltimore. They'll travel around — I know people that travel around the world, have very successful careers, that never go to the other side of town unless they're shopping or something like that, they never go. And so, East Baltimore, West Baltimore, that's always been sort of, sort of I guess you would call — I don't know if it would be a rivalry — but more or less like two different towns, um, in one city, where literally, you could go around 695 —which is our beltway— within like 40 minutes. So we're um, we're probably as big as maybe Brooklyn, as a city, but yet, people do not go to the — to each side of town. Um, I also wanted to highlight this Highway to Nowhere. So, where you see right here where Johns Hopkins University is, I actually was interested — growing up, I lived in East Baltimore and I did a lot of work in West Baltimore: pray, educated, things like that. And so I, would get when I was younger, I would get, "oh, you're from you're from East Baltimore you're not from here," and then growing up in West Baltimore, it's like "oh you can't come East," because what we have here is, we have Charles Street that pretty much divides our entire city. And so, usually people will literally go to Charles Street and stop, but don't go to the other side. Um so, what's very interesting about this here is that you had this Highway to Nowhere that literally carved its way through, primarily Black communities within West Baltimore. The area from West Baltimore traditionally was very Black, and this area here actually has transitioned over time, but it was a, a Polish- it was a Polish neighborhood, um — I'll talk about a little bit more later but — it was interesting when we did our um, our, our reflection piece, and our, and I'll talk a little bit more about what we did at the Smithsonian in our pop-up — which I appreciate you Elizabeth for that— um, we really had a conversation between the, the photos and the conversations weren't just about East versus West, it was also very triggering for some people. My aunt who is in her early 60s, um, said that she, she has a best friend now that she grew up two blocks away, but she— they, but it was a church that was there, that was their dividing line. So people could attend the church, but if you went two blocks over you literally would get beaten up, if you went to the other side, or possibly killed. If you went to the other side, you would be possibly beaten up and killed. And I — when I heard her saying "Yo, you, you can't go," I'm thinking of it from a sense of, this is somewhere you prefer not to go 'cause it's going to be uncomfortable she said "no, you could not go or you would be hurt," literally. And so seeing the photos, it really kind of jarred me because we really had a conversation — I'll talk a little bit more about that later— um, and so it was a lot of, it's a lot of tension, but also we relate, because if you look at that stoop —I think it was Sarah who said that — those are those conversations that are happening every single day. So you may have someone who lives— a Polish family that might live across from a Black family, they may only attend church together, but then they would never interact. And then myself, I'm in my early 40s, so I-I've experienced racial tension within Baltimore but never an aggression of that level, and so that was very interesting. Also this Highway to Nowhere literally carved through neighborhoods, and they and they stopped here. And so while I appreciate the strength of these communities that really say, "look we're going to stand up, we're not going to allow you to build literally this highway, just to carve through our city," unfortunately Black neighborhoods were, were traditionally not listened to, and they continued to be not listened to, to the fact of literal buildings, neighborhoods, and history was really knocked down. And so, through this process I learned a lot about my own neighborhood that I had been in for years. I think Sarah brought up, something about the Poe homes, yes. So with Edgar Allan Poe [claps] — who is one of my favorite writers of all time, of course, amazing. So he, his actual home is within the housing project, within Baltimore. So if you're coming off a 695, or you're coming into Baltimore, um it's about maybe five or 10 minutes once you come off the highway — his home is there. And so, it's really interesting just to see this person, who was an incredible writer, but also dealt with, of course a lot of tension, alcoholism, and things like that, to have his home in an area that's still very tense, and still dealing with a lot of issues, it's very is, it's interesting, so thank you for bringing that up, Sarah. Yes, you would the [unintelligible] of the bells! I love it, yes [claps]. Cool, cool I'm a literary [unintelligible] nerd too so. Alright, I'm gonna stop there.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Karim, when you say carved through, I think I'm gonna interject, what I did not understand about the Highway to Nowhere, that it's, it's literally like a 20-foot section down, into the ground that was carved out for a four-lane highway.
— (Karim Amin) Yes.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) So, it's like a fully removed portion of the city-
— (Karim Amin) Mhm.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) -that was intended to be this kind of conduit of people into downtown, and then back to their suburban area, and then it was scrapped as you can see in 1981. So, this section of it was made but then it was a, a project that was sort of, tabled. And then it, doesn't really serve any purpose. And all the modern photographs I've seen of it have like one car on it, [laughs] that's, that's it! There's just no reason for it anymore.
— (Karim Amin) Yeah, it's like a literal —it maybe saves you one-and-a-half minutes of traffic. So, I mean it's literally not necessary. Um, and when we did our oral history, one of the subjects of the oral history, she talked about her neighborhood, she actually lived in that neighborhood-
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mm, yeah.
— (Karim Amin) -and her home was destroyed as a result of it. And so, it's incredible how these things are happening —and even now, and this is to be totally non-political, but it became a political issue here was because they were trying to build a red line that would connect West Baltimore to, to East Baltimore through, through our light rail system. And our governor, um, Hogan, shut it down. Funding was there from the federal government, local, state, everybody was for it. It would have brought dozens and dozens of jobs well, not even a dozen, dozen hundreds of jobs to that area, and helped out our transportation, transportation system —I'm sorry— that's definitely, we need a better transportation system. He literally shut it down. So, it brought up a lot of issues that happened 30 to 40 years ago. Because people were upset, 'cause they say "well first you build this Highway to Nowhere, when we can actually make good use of this space you now shut it down again," so it was a re-traumatizing for many people within that neighborhood, re-traumatizing of what happened 40 years ago, so, very interesting.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) So, will you tell us more about "Voices of 21217," Karim? Because your project is incredible, and I want people to have a chance to learn more about the city, but also see your students work.
— (Karim Amin) Appreciate it. So I left um, my website in the chat. I will do it again. [whispering] "Voices of 21217," dot org. So, um I started this organization about, about two-and-a-half years ago. I was inspired actually after the Freddie Gray uprising here in Baltimore, because what happened around that time, it wasn't just his, his gruesome murder at the hands of police that really upset everyone. It was also that he was just a part of a long line of, of just compacted trauma that happened. So it's like I'm poor, I live in a country that does not like Black people in general, or has shown historically not to like Black people in general, and, and then after that, now the police who are supposed to secure, — I'm not going to get into the specifics of his particular case, because we could talk another several hours about that — but he, he was then subsequently taken into a van and he and he was in the van, he was alive, then he went to the hospital, and he died. And so, the image of him being dragged by the police was really spread around the whole world like wildfire. Like I've never seen Baltimore in the news like that, ever. And so, I came — actually at the time I was actually living in North Carolina for four years doing some, some other work. I came back up and to see military vehicles coming down my street where I literally played at, I heard these things from my mother who experienced the 1968 riots, but to see a tank drive down your street and guns being pointed at children, is beyond frightening. And so, it definitely had, as you said, echoes of the '68 riots. So some people see that and they either entertained, or they say "Oh it's so sad," or "What's going on?" or "What's happening?" But just the reality of seeing that and not being able to explain it to the youth, why this is happening, was really it was a, — it was a challenge. And but, the other thing that I saw was that we were all up on the corner, this is at Pennsylvania Avenue and North Avenue, where they said the uprising took place or whatever. We were literally locked arm-in-arm grassroots organizers, people from the community. And we built a line between the police —who, who had a line there, I don't know why but they just had a line in that area— and of course. The community was on one side upset, you had a line of people in the middle, and then a police line. But as I, as I noticed, when you looked over — the media didn't show this as much but — there were drummers, there were singers, there were photographers, videographers, dancers, performers, like literal drum circles, in the middle of the street that really brought healing to this situation. And so I thought to myself, if this one image can cause this entire uprising what could dozens and or hundreds of images of, of positivity or the reality of our neighborhood, do to inspire change? And so, that's when I came up with the — first started thinking about Voices of 21217. And so our organization really is set up to provide opportunities for youth between the ages of 14 to 24 to center their stories, 'cause what's happening is, it's not that stories aren't being told, it's that they're looking for that one singular story. That singular Black story of struggle which is a misnomer on top of a lie, [laughs] mixed in with confusion — and I really mean everything that I'm saying 'cause as each of us here have layered and nuanced stories, there are layered and nuanced stories. Freddie Gray wasn't just a guy who got killed by the police. He was an uncle, he was a member of the community, he actually was really popular, that's why some people were so upset about it. So, you have to understand these are human beings. And so we wanted to do was to through this program to really humanize our neighborhoods and, and not so that, to prove anything, but just to, just show what was happening. And so when Elizabeth approached me about it, our first conversations were not about photography. It was about, who are you Elizabeth, and who am I Karim.
- (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) [laughs] Yeah, yeah.
— (Karim Amin) 'Cause, I guess if you can clearly, you know, clearly, clearly see we we've come from different backgrounds, we come from different spaces, but we all love the arts and what it can do to help to change. And so we first got to know each other and where we were coming from, and then also because of what happened of course, with COVID, and that we all went through our, our program kind of took on a really, it took on a different need, because during that time youth were locked in their homes like everybody else, they didn't have any way to learn, they couldn't interact with their teachers, with their friends, and they were very upset, and they really weren't trusting of adults, at that time. And so, what this program did was not only give the youth the opportunity to center their stories, but also show their dignity and that we had not forgotten about them, because grassroots organizations are the first responders in our community. Many times before they talk to the police, before they talk to an ambulance, before they talk to any other first responder, they're talking to us. Like I've literally walked up on people going, having, you know, who were overdosing. Before the police got there, before the ambulance, we were there, and we had to make the people — make them feel safe, we have to make them feel okay so that the police don't run up and hurt them, and, or try to just lock them up. So sometimes our first responders are really, really important. And as we know as educators, —last year I guess people figured out that educators matter, I don't know— but we are, we're, very much the first responders. And so, this was a part of that process. And so with the "Voices of 21217," we work with a group of youth, about four or five youth from this school here. This is actually a charter school in Baltimore called the Islamic Community School. It's a school that I grew up in, in Baltimore, which is literally two blocks away from the CVS that you guys saw burning down during the Freddie Gray uprising. And so, what we decided to do was to really dignify this neighborhood. So I just want to look through some of the photos real quick, and then Elizabeth, please let me know when I need to stop. So these photos here are representative of what we saw within our community, and so this is actually one of our photographers in front of a church, a historic church, right at Drude Hill and North Avenue. And as you can see she has on the scarf because it's a traditional Muslim school. And one thing that I particularly love about this picture is just the juxtapose of her smiling, a Muslim young lady in front of a church in this area that's actually starting to come up itself. So one thing we wanted to do was to resist gentrification that's actually happening within West Baltimore, because people from University of Maryland Hospital and other places are starting to really move into West Baltimore. And so we wanted to be able to preserve those images and those people. This couple that we have here, when we walked up and they saw what we were doing, they said, "please take a picture, and let people know, don't forget about us." Like that that was their literal words, and so one of our youth took this incredible picture here, because as you can see, even amongst these buildings that we drive down, or we drive past every single day, there are people that live there, that value it, and they love what's, you know, what's happening within their community. You wanna go to the next slide?
All, right cool. So, before I go into, into this. I'm gonna pause it for a second. So, as a part of what we do, is that we also, we have on our website, we do a series that's called 'Zones,' which is a anthology series where we're following youth throughout Baltimore, that are doing a lot of different, incredible things. So with our youth, they are photographers, as we know — I'm gonna show you a quick picture of us at the Smithsonian. But this right here is just a trailer that we shot, and this, this youth that we have here, Antonio Moore, is incredible young man, 21 years old and he actually sells properties in Baltimore. So he has a book that's called "The Flip Project," because his project is more than about, just selling homes. His is about flipping your, your mindset, and your community, and looking at, at these buildings that we have in Baltimore that are abandoned, and looking them more as opportunities to, to help the community. So I'm gonna allow Liz if you could bring up the , and then we could just look at the trailer real quick.
— (Antonio Moore) [background music starts] If people ain't seeing this, and it's all going to [unintelligible] make sense of it. Like I could tell them, "look, I did the real estate deal, you know, I took an apartment, put it under contract for 360,000, sold it three months later for 420,000, made 60 bands." I could show them, I could say that, tell them the story about that, right? But if they're not seeing this, then it's kind of hard for them to see that, like, so, when I was having conversations about it — and I still do— I had to learn to speak the language, to keep the uniform, on so it's hard for people to understand. Like all right, look, I can actually do this, I could invest in real estate, I don't gotta go get a license, be a realtor, I can participate in the thing that we participate in every day. So you know, definitely people, once they understand it, you draw them in with the money, and then once they understand the money, then once they learn the significance of it, it'll change their life forever. They'll never be able to unsee it. [background music ends]
— (Karim Amin) So there you have every day in Baltimore — could you go to the photo gallery real quick? I'm sorry.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Uhhh, yes.
— (Karim Amin) Today, every day in Baltimore that are making, that —I think might be on the main page— that are making a difference —there we go alright, cool — so that youth every day that are making a difference. The youth that we had here we actually got a chance to have our first showing at the Smithsonian, and so it was an incredible conversation between the photographs —thank you— and so, our photographs were here, and that's actually one of our amazing photographers, Marjana, and it was a really incredible conversation between, just not only East and East Baltimore, also a lot of the images were of Polish communities and this, and this, — I'm sorry our photos were about African American communities. Also, what was happening now as we see with everyone with their mask on is that we're dealing with COVID. And so our communities have totally changed how we communicate, how we engage, and interact. And I saw you know, a couple folks earlier talking a little bit about the stoop, and so just the idea of being on your stoop and interacting with people has now totally changed and shifted because of COVID. And so, even talking to your neighbors, even talking to your family members, you, you couldn't, you know, some of us haven't seen our family in over two years. And so, to be able to do this project during this particular challenging time, in this challenging neighborhood, but then be able to go to the Smithsonian and be able to, to have these conversations with photos that were produced by youth in Baltimore was incredible. So it, it definitely was a great project. A lot of youth that were here, they were saying "man, I didn't even know that I could do this. I didn't even know that this was possible." So, sometimes just opening up those doors um you'll be able to see the genius that is already in our kids, and already in our youth, if we just open up a door, and just ask those questions and give them an opportunity. And so, please feel free to go to our website —I know we're gonna be doing some more conversations but— please feel free to go to our website, learn some more, let's continue to interact and start to, to ask these challenging questions.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Awesome, thank you Karim. So it was really a, for me a really incredible experience to hear from students, so we were learning about Baltimore together. So we were looking at these historical photographs, we were reading oral history excerpts from the same time period as the photographs, and then the students were thinking about, kind of, what are the big ideas, what was their city going through at the time, and then they were going out into the city taking photographs of their neighborhoods, and then even sitting down with family members, with elders in their community, and saying, "I read this thing about the 1970s, but like, how do you remember it? What was what was this like?" So we're going to give you all a chance to practice this idea of continuity and change over time with the Jamboard. Sorry, I was all kinds of crazy with the technology earlier, but this is a clip of the Jamboard. The idea is you are going to go into breakout rooms we're going to spend probably like 12 minutes [laughs] to be specific, looking at — each one of the groups will get a tile— you're going to look at the works together, so the top line are those works that we looked at really closely from the 1970s, and the bottom line are the works that were made just this year by Karim's students. Amongst your group you are going to figure out which of the two photographs, which two photographs rather, would you pair up to kind of create an interesting story or, or a, like, a thesis statement. You need to take one from the blue bar and one from the yellow bar. Then you're going to delete everything else off the screen so that you have space to write, and you're going to talk it out and document: when you put these two images together what theme or topic do they suggest? What do you know about the 1970s and about 2021? What's relevant do you think, what's going on in the world and in American history? And then, of that stuff, what seems important or significant to these particular images? If you identify that you don't have enough information, that's great, just make a running list of research questions or things that you wonder. And then, just based on the image, look for things that have changed. So this should feel pretty easy, what, what has changed, at least based on these images. Recognizing that, you know the, the survey photographers took ten thousand, we're only giving you a choice of one, that Karim's students took hundreds, but we're giving you a choice of one — but what seems to have changed. But then, also is there anything that you saw and heard, either in the image or through our conversations today, that seems to have stayed the same? And you might need to think more conceptually, not necessarily like "oh, that particular house," because it could still be there, but like, think also more broadly and conceptually. And then consider finally, what in the world like, why do you think some things were allowed to change and then some other things were allowed to stay the same? I'm kind of — based on that like what questions do you need to ask? So, before I send you into breakout rooms do you have questions? Because I just threw a bunch of stuff at you. I'm not hearing anything, okay. I'm going to make three breakout rooms, so it's going to be small groups, that's okay. You're going to go to the, the tiny URL dot com slash explorer CCOT, you're going to find your slide that has your number on it, so when you go into the breakout room it will assign you a breakout room number and that's how you know where to go. So I will see you all again in 12 minutes. Hello, friends. That was not nearly enough time, was it? [laughs] It never is! So— [audio echo]
— (Participant) I think we just got our sticky note finished in my group like, the second we closed, so, I think we're good.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Awesome, you're amazing. [laugh, cheer]
— (Participant) Yay!
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) So, I would like to respect the, everybody's time knowing this is the end of a long day, I would also love to hear from one representative. If each group just quickly like, what, what were maybe the highlight of your conversation. So let's say what, what is your theme, and what was the highlight of your conversation; like what, what seemed rich about it? So group one, we're looking at your work, would you share with us what your theme is, if, what was a highlight or a rich point from your conversation?
— (Sarah Kohrs) I can share, so I put some notes in there, hopefully they make sense. We were talking about the concept of community and the role of the stoop in the community. We noticed that there was less interaction on the stoop due to the pandemic if you look at 2021. And it made us question, well do people still interact, if neighbors are needed, and how does that look because it's very different from the 1970s? And we came to the concept that it was less gathering, but more one-on-one interaction, thanks to Karim's insights too, but we saw the same pride in community — people still wanting to be on the stoop. And then also we made a note about elders not in the picture as much, and this made us wonder if we were trying to keep them safe from COVID, and maybe that's why we don't see as much of the intergenerational. So that's kind of as far as we got with that.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) That's gorgeous! You got so far, thank you Sarah. That's awesome. Okay. group two will you walk us through, what, what is your theme and what was the highlight of your conversation?
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) Oh, man. [laughing in background] Am I gonna talk?
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) You're gonna talk! You're so brave.
— (Karim Amin) [laughs]
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) [sighs] Well, we got caught up in themes, but I guess I'll just pick one of the ideas, one of the themes, and I'll go with the self-confidence.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mm.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) So there was, kind of this like, idea that, both, that the people in both images were confident and comfortable with who they are kind, of what they're wearing, which made seem that they were comfortable [crash and thud] in their community, in their neighborhood, and then — what do you know about — and then we also talked about the idea that maybe now, there's more cultural resources offered in the neighborhood. So the idea that there's a Muslim school now, so, hence why she may feel comfortable and, wearing her scarf around her head, and, you know, she seems to be smiling, or she seems to be happy there, and where back then maybe there was just more traditional public schools and, I don't know what the education is like in Baltimore, but sometimes public school can be really difficult [laughs] and depending on what kind of neighborhood you live in, you may not have the best education, so that was something that we talked about, and then we also talked about the boarded up windows and, are those boarded up buildings, are they, have they been abandoned now? Or are they being renovated for new families to come in, and am I missing anything else group 2? [laughs]
— (Angels Natal Asensio) You did great! [laughs]
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Well done, thank you!
— (Karim Amin) Great observations, both groups.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) That's really cool, all right group three what can you tell us? We would love to know more.
— (Chloe Clarke) So for our group we focus on definitely what can we find within the images and describing, of course, the topics and themes, and we just looked in depth on how possibly these, these two images can be compared. Definitely in relation to the size of the group, as well as comparing the fact that they're both on their front stoop, or on their steps of their homes, as well as reflecting upon how they are sitting, and reflect setting, and their gestures, and looking towards th- [computer glitch]
— (Karim Amin) Hmm.
— (Chloe Clarke) -the camera as well as their surroundings in comparison to their possibilities of why, of the importance of their placement in relation to sitting on the front stoop when posing for the camera.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mhm.
— (Chloe Clarke) So, we emphasize upon the socialization amongst family, friends, neighbors, and strangers, and possibly strangers. And, of course, the differences of the two families due to their size and, and how they're interacting with each other.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Beautiful, thank you.
— (Karim Amin) Mmm.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Awesome, all right, so, here's my final question set for you all. You just did this, right, and you, you, dug around in the idea of continuity and change over time, — it was certainly not enough time — but each of you, um, I hope, have started to get kind of a sense of what are the challenges, and also the, the points of interest of continuity and change over time? So, I'd be curious just to know like as you were doing this work, what made it challenging to look for things that were the same and things that were different? Technology aside because sometimes technology [laughs]
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) Are we saying this or are we writing?
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Oh my gosh, please speak, speak aloud! What were the challenges and, and points of interest? Thank you for asking.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) I think something that's always challenging when looking at like photographs that um have history in them is I, I don't like making assumptions, 'cause it's, it's like making assumptions of people. You don't want to assume something about someone and then be wrong.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mhm.
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) 'Cause it feels like you're being, it sounds like you're being kind of ignorant or naive about someone's history or culture. So, I always find that really challenging.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Beautiful, thank you. So you want to be respectful while you're doing it?
— (Sarah Mellissa Wenger) Yeah, yeah.
— (Jen Strausser) I agree, I think, you know, it's like you judging a book by its cover.
— (Karim Akim) Mmm.
— (Jen Strausser) You don't, you know, you don't really know what's inside until you read the pages. So you can, you can, you could guess by looking deeply into the photographs and trying to take in as much images, as, imagery as you can, and based on your knowledge, making an inference, but it may not be correct. And again, if we make the wrong, you know, judgments, you know, that could be damaging or hurtful. So it's always better to, like we were doing, is sort of doing the general, as you know artists and writers, doing the general, you know, picking out things that we recognize, rather than going too deep to something we may not know about.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Beautiful, so our knowledge or lack thereof is the lens through which we see, and recognizing that, that our own experience, or our lack of experience, will, will color and change the way that we perceive someone else. Yeah, beautiful. Any additional challenges? Yeah, Dan.
— (Dan Faltz) Yeah, so, you know, in, in community-based art or, community art, there's the whole um, you know, strategy of asset mapping, right, and, and seeing what is a community's assets, what are their assets, and to, you know, i- it's a best practice, or a trend to, you know involve the community in that process, and also, to not think of like, what a community needs as a deficit, but what are the, what does the community have to offer, right?
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mmm.
— (Dan Faltz) What are its strengths, its cultural traditions, you know, and, and I think, you, you need to, you need that thorough understanding, right and to, to view things maybe, you know, something might look like an abandoned building, but we don't know its role or its relevance to that community or that culture, you know, or, or what's on the other side of it right?
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Beautiful, thank you.
— (Karim Akim) Well said.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) The perspective of the people in the image, their insights and their communities, and how they may differ from that of the photographer or the viewer, right? So in one case we had photographers from outside the community taking photographs, and in one case we had photographers from inside the community taking photographs, and recognizing that, that, that is a distinctly different perspective. Thank you. When we are searching for things that change or stay the same was there anything interesting about that?
— (Karim Akim) I would say the tension that people brought up in that photo, the first photo of the other three young men, I thought that was interesting because I saw a different tension, but kind of looking at it from the outside looking in was like, "wow, that's interesting tension," and I'm wondering, because they were White, female, photographers at that particular time, did they interact with them — were their interactions different? When, when she took the photos where she's trying to show tension, where some of the other photos are a little more about like, a day in the life of people and kind of more happiness, and joy but that one was more tension. And so, I know over time, we still have struggles with race relations, of course systemically in Baltimore, but I would say culturally it's a lot more — just like the entire country and world, there's a lot less issues in regards to like one-on-one relations when it comes to race. Like I couldn't imagine not walk being able to walk across the street and someone tried to hurt me. I can understand the tension because I've been in intense situations, but not you literally want to hurt me because of the color of my skin.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mhm.
— (Karim Akim) So just my presence alone is an attack on you-
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mhm.
— (Karim Akim) -or vice versa and so, I thought that was, that was, that, that has changed over time. But it's just interesting how people saw that.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) So Karim, I unpacked that two ways. I heard you appreciating opportunities to compare impressions and understandings, and then I also heard you appreciating the opportunities to become curious and know more beyond what's represented, did I get you?
— (Karim Akim) Yeah, absolutely!
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Okay, what, what more is interesting about looking for things that either have changed or stayed the same? Not the question for anyone.
— (Karim Akim) I would say common language. I think everyone kind of knows about gentrification, like what that is. I think as a country we all are a lot more aware of relations between, you know, race and then also like, community arts including the community more into it, and Dan [unintelligible] that up what I thought was a great point, and just making sure communities are part of it, and looking at asset mapping as opposed to deficits.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Mhm.
— (Karim Akim) And I think during that time you probably saw more deficit mapping. While I think now people are looking more into the asset mappings, I thought that was a great, a great point, that was brought up.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) That's awesome.
— (Karim Akim) And then the curiosity about community, because if I'm from Northern Virginia, my reflection on what's happening may be a little bit different than someone that's from Brooklyn, because they, they may, we may relate in regards to an urban environment, even though we may come from different cultural backgrounds, we may relate more with that, so yeah.
— (Elizabeth Dale-Deines) Yeah, thank you. Sarah's noted in the chatbox also that she was intrigued by considering the use of space over time, so when we start to look for things that, that remain over time, we recognize that there are these themes that spool out, and that, that space may be used, and then disused, and used again, and, and this kind of ebb and flow. So, obviously it is six o'clock, we have had such rich conversations, but where I want to kind of land is, each time we ended in questions, the intent was to end in wonder and curiosity, or recognizing gaps in knowledge, because I do think that often when we put two pieces of historical documentation together and we say what's changed and what stayed the same, we're, we're asking people to essentially draw a straight line when the line between them is actually quite wiggly and three-dimensional or it's not a line at all, it's dots or something else. And so, recognizing that this, this place of curiosity where we're uncovering lack of knowledge or, or a wonder and ending up there over and over again, was intended to move us toward this idea that human stories and community are a lot messier than the one-to-one connection, and that when we start to think about the kind of dispositions that we need to still instill in our students, we might want to start thinking about that and how to apply that to our practice. So that's what I've got for you. I'm so grateful it is 6:01, we managed to, to get done.