As part of the first annual Baltimore Homecoming, the Homecoming Hero Awards recognized five Baltimore city residents – community and non-profit leaders, activists, artists or other innovators – who have made a significant impact on our city over the past few years. Learn about our 2018 Homecoming Heroes and check back in spring 2019 to nominate a Homecoming Hero!
Our 2018 Homecoming Hero Award Winners
Erricka Bridgeford, Organizer, Baltimore Ceasefire
After working to get Maryland’s death penalty law repealed in 2013, Erricka Bridgeford founded Baltimore Ceasefire in 2017 which co-organizes quarterly 72-hour “Ceasefire” weekends in the hope of reducing violence by celebrating life. Now Baltimore Ceasefire hosts events throughout the year. Erricka was named 2017’s Marylander of the Year by the Baltimore Sun. www.baltimoreceasefire.com.
Monique Brown, Major, Baltimore City Police Department
Major Monique Brown has been a member of the Baltimore City Police Department for 17 years, and has made her mark as a “rising and accomplished star in the department.” Major Brown, who grew up in the city, works diligently to make a positive change in people’s lives and “restore the image of police officers in the Southern District.” Learn more about Charm City Doc, featuring Major Brown’s story alongside many others.
Alphonso Mayo, Founder/Executive, Mentoring Mentors
Alphonso Mayo created Mentoring Mentors as a way to “fill a serious gap in the black community – mentors that look like and have had similar experiences as those their mentees.” Mentoring Mentors has been giving Baltimore’s youth the values and skills needed to overcome academic, social, and emotional obstacles, and by encouraging those youth to continue to mentor, creates a cycle of supportive, strong relationships. www.mentoring-mentors.org.
Mr. Trash Wheel, First Invention of His Kind, the Unmuddied, King of the Flotsam, etc.
Mr. Trash Wheel was invented by John Kellett and his company Clearwater Mills. Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore’s Healthy Harbor Initiative launched a viral social media campaign to get the people of Baltimore engaged in the environmental restoration of the Harbor. Since being installed in May 2014, the Mr. Trash Wheel along with Professor Trash Wheel (in Canton) and Captain Trash Wheel (in Masonville Cove) have removed 859 tons of trash and debris from the water including over 10 million cigarette butts, 684,000 plastic bottles, and 796,000 foam. Learn more.
Brittany Young, Founder/CEO, B360
Brittany Young understands the stigma that dirt bike riding has in Baltimore, and is transforming the image of dirt bike riders. Young created the social venture B-360 advocates for safe bike riding, shows students how the skills they have developed to maintain their bikes can open career opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and encourages diversity in those fields. www.b360baltimore.org.
Alexa Gaines, Co-Founder, The Bmore Creatives
Alexa began The Bmore Creatives as a way to celebrate and connect the city’s creative community. When she moved to Baltimore she fell in love with the city’s massive creative spirit and three years later, @thebmorecreatives on Instagram has now over 26,000 followers and over 119,000 posts in the feed (hashtag) growing into an active real-world community. Alexa is creating events to foster connections between like-minded folks from free yoga to pop-up galleries, music showcases to inviting other cities to come explore Baltimore.
Panagis Galiatsatos, Physician/Co-Director, Medicine for the Greater Good
Panagis co-founded “Medicine for the Greater Good”, a medical initiative where healthcare professionals-in-training get to know the Baltimore City population and actively engage with health disparity-related projects for the community. MGG is now ongoing in several residency programs at Johns Hopkins. 5000 citizens have been impacted and over 200 trainees have recognized the need to engage with community to overcome health disparities, and thus securing medicine as a public trust for the future.
Clayton “Mr. C” Guyton, Co-Founder/Director, Rose Street Community
Mr. C is one the founders of the Rose Street Community Center opened in 1995. He seeks to make a difference in the lives of the youth in the neighborhood, and his nominators cite his empathy, humanity, leadership and compassion. “Mr. C is a guiding light, devoted to his community and the organization he has founded. He has given the children in the community hope.”
Ray Kelly, CEO, No Boundaries Coalition
Born and raised in West Baltimore, Kelly’s advocacy stems from his life story. He was once addicted to drugs and fought his way to sobriety. After the events of April 2015, the No Boundaries Coalition formed the West Baltimore Commission on Police Misconduct. This forum ultimately led to a relationship with the Department of Justice, and No Boundaries became formal conduit for resident input into the federal investigation of the Baltimore Police Department. Today, Kelly is the chair of the Community Oversight Task Force charged with reforming civilian oversight of the Police Department.
Jabari Lyles, Executive Director, GLSEN Maryland
Jabari Lyles heads the Maryland chapter of GLSEN, the leading national organization championing LGBTQ issues in K-12 education. GLSEN Maryland seeks to ensure all Maryland schools are safe and welcoming for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Jabari has long been “working in various positions that emphasize his passion for education and social justice activism.”
Randi Pupkin, Executive Director, Art With a Heart
Randi Pupkin founded Art With a Heart in March 2000, after pivoting from her law career of 14 years. She began teaching four art classes a week in volunerable communities, and now offers over a quarter million individual art experiences a year for Baltimore citizens. Those who nominated Randi make note of her “passion and dedication to the children, youth and adults of Baltimore,” which “inspires every group she works with.”
Who is eligible?
We are looking for community leaders, activists, artists, leaders of small or start-up nonprofit organizations, small business owners, and other innovators. But any resident of Baltimore City 18 years of age or older who has demonstrated commitment to social change and community engagement is eligible.
What are the selection criteria?
Our Host Committee will review nominations and select ten finalists on the basis of three factors, which will be weighted equally:
- Impact: What challenge has the nominee sought to address? What progress have they made? Have they transformed the lives of individuals? Touched the lives of many?
- Inspiration and mobilization: Did the nominee inspire others to take action? Did they work to organize others within their neighborhood or across Baltimore as a whole?
- Creativity: Did the nominee’s work break new ground or create a new model for change?
What is the award?
Winners can choose to receive their $3,000 cash prize an unrestricted individual gift or to donate to a non-profit organization or charity of their choice.
How will winners be selected?
A selection of Baltimore Homecoming’s Host Committee will narrow down the list to the top 10 finalists which will be released for public voting. All ten finalists will be invited to the Homecoming to share their stories; and the top 5 winners will be announced and awarded $3,000 each at the Baltimore Homecoming.
Will there be awards for semi-finalists?
All ten finalists will be given a chance to participate and share their story at the Homecoming event October 3-5.