Baltimore Aspen Workgroup

The Baltimore Aspen Workgroup: Racial Equity and the Future of the Baltimore Region

The Baltimore Aspen Workgroup is a committee of Baltimore civic leaders convened by the Associated Black Charities (ABC) and the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) in partnership with the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change.  Because each organization believes that transformative change and sustainable improvement will not be achieved in Baltimore unless institutional and structural racism are addressed, the Working Group was established in 2012 to:

  • Build a constellation and critical mass of Baltimore leaders who can identify structural racism and are equipped with a racial equity lens for conducting their work.
  • Provide time, space and structure for those who want to build knowledge about how racial dynamics are operating in the Baltimore region and nationally to inform their everyday practice.
  • Support a community of colleagues dedicated to sharing and testing ideas and strategies for promoting racial equity and inclusion in our own areas of professional and social influence.

The Workgroup’s activities are based on the premise that challenges facing the Baltimore region require collective action in key areas of policy, social and institutional practices, and cultural representations and belief systems in order to dismantle institutional and structural racism and build foundations for a bright future for all Baltimoreans. The Working Group has been called “the only trusted table in Baltimore” for talking about race, and has inspired and/or influenced a range of actions since it was established, for example “The Lines Between Us” radio series on inequality in the region and the proposed Institute on Race & Society at the University of Baltimore.

In 2015-2016 our aims are:

  • To expand the group to include additional powerbrokers who understand racial equity as a necessary ingredient to prosperity and stability in the Baltimore region.
  • To develop, in partnership with the University of Baltimore, a cutting edge curriculum on race and racial equity that is highly specific to the Baltimore experience and can be easily replicated. It will also serve as a tool to further the understanding of Trustees and staff at BCF as a part of their ongoing educational efforts.
  • To serve as a trusted group, or “task force,” to support the implementation of the “Undermine Structural Racism” strategy (Strategy 4) of the Opportunity Collaborative’s workforce development plan.
  • To conduct a census of organizations in the Baltimore region focused on promoting racial equity, especially those focused on workforce development in keeping with the goal of serving as a task force for implementation of the “Undermine Structural Racism” strategy of the Opportunity Collaborative’s workforce development plan.
  • To establish a Baltimore presence of the “B-12 Journalism & Race Initiative”—a national project of the Aspen Institute to infuse background knowledge and practical information on race and related issues for the field of journalism.

We will continue to feature, support and learn from efforts of members of the group, and from the efforts of other organizations and individuals focused on promoting racial equity across opportunity areas. We will also continue strengthening the communication skills of the group so that each member can serve as an effective spokesperson for racial equity in their own spheres of influence.