Young, Black, Homegrown & Leading in Baltimore

Monica Cooper: ‘We were all born to be in the service of others’


Maryland Justice Project founder Monica Cooper created the organization to champion solutions to issues of economic justice hindering formerly incarcerated people. She knows firsthand the struggles those individuals face in earning a living and building a prosperous future for themselves ...

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Alanah Nichole Davis: ‘You have to be unafraid to be different’


Alanah Nichole Davis is a marketing consultant, writer, performance artist, and an emerging leader in Baltimore’s art scene. Her path to becoming a leader, and respected artist, wasn’t always easy. She’s overcome expulsion from high school at 16, having kids ...

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Jason Bass: ‘How do you not know that they exist?’


Baltimore native Jason Bass has emerged as a leader in city business circles by creating enterprises like Night Brunch and then serving as CEO for Treason Toting. In July Bass started a new role that leverages both his business savvy ...

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Dionne Joyner-Weems: ‘You control your story’

Dionne Joyner-Weems (Submitted Photo)

Dionne Joyner-Weems is a marketing professional who helped lead Baltimore’s marketing efforts for years, first as an account executive for a local advertising agency and then at Visit Baltimore in various roles, including vice president of marketing and community affairs. ...

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Alphonso Mayo: ‘We’re not looking to be saved, we’re looking to collaborate’

Alphonso Mayo (submitted photo)

Alphonso Mayo launched his nonprofit, Mentoring Mentors, to help underserved black kids from Baltimore build positive relationships that lead to success in life. As executive director of that nonprofit, Mayo, however, found a culture among the city’s charitable organizations that ...

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Durryle Brooks: Helping young people ‘use their voice’

"One of the biggest things we can do is to tell young people ... to use their voice, and then to create pathways, and to remove obstacles like heterosexism, and heteronormativity," says Durryle Brooks. (Avelino Amado)

Durryle Brooks grew up in Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood not only negotiating the challenges associated with being a Black man in the U.S. but the trials stemming from being a gay in a conservative religious environment. After earning degrees, including ...

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Danielle Torain: ‘You’re talking about your own folks’

Danielle Torain, executive director of Open Society Institute-Baltimore. (Submitted Photo)

Danielle Torain grew up in Baltimore, and her career included work in the mayor’s office before taking over as the executive director of the Open Society Institute Baltimore early in 2020. Having young people of color in positions leading organizations, ...

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