Maryland Communities United
Founded in 2010, the mission of Communities United (CU) is to organize and empower low income Marylanders to achieve transformative change on issues of racial, economic and social justice. Our organizing is centered in Baltimore. Our community organizing model hinges on intensive member engagement and leadership development.
We engage and build leadership among those most directly impacted by injustice – racism, poverty, trauma, addiction, criminalization – to build resilient grassroots power among those historically shut out of Baltimore’s economic and political life.
Issues we work on include...
Incarceration & Addiction
Communities United is dedicated to building leadership among residents facing the often-overlapping stigmas of incarceration and addiction. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for all members of our community and to reduce harm by changing institutions to address our needs. This summer (2019) we are working with BRIDGES (Baltimore Resources for Indoor Drug-use Grassroots Education & Safety) Coalition to educate our neighbors with pop-up overdose prevention sites around the city.
Education & Parent Engagement
It takes a village to raise a child. Our parents, community members, and students in our community schools work together to advocate for long-term, equitable investment in the proven community school model. Summers we go into public housing with easy doable-at-home STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) projects for parents to share with children.
Trauma & Resilency
Our communities grapple with loss everyday. Our member led support group helps neighbors come together to support each other, share resources, and face trauma head first to build resilient neighborhoods and schools. We partner with other organizations to support these groups.
Inadequate and unsafe housing conditions negatively affect everyone. We organize residents in public housing and rental housing to demand safe, affordable, healthy homes.
For three years we have been working with youth both during the summer and after-school during the school year. Over the summer our Youth Organizing Leadership Academy (YOLA) provides education to Youthworks and other city youth. After 5 weeks of paid training, several youth were promoted into our organizing practicum to hit the streets with our organizing team, and a few to leadership positions.
We are the only organization in Baltimore devoted to organizing in our city’s poorest neighborhoods, including in public housing.
Together we succeed
2013 Won same day registration on early voting days.
2015 Restored the vote for citizens with felony convictions upon release from prison.
2015 Increased funding (67% increase – $4 million for a total of just over $10 million) for community schools in Baltimore.
2016 Registered over 1,000 released prisoners to vote.
Reinstated of funding for Baltimore community schools (won in 2015 then cut by mayor in 2016)
2017 Reinstated of funding for community schools, initially cut in the mayor's FY 2018 Budget.
We2016-18 Organized monthly support groups in Perkins, Gilmor and McCulloh Homes, as well as emergency meetings as requested by individuals in need.
2018 Established a new support group in Cherry Hill, at the request of staff & parents at Cherry Hill Elementary-Middle.
2018 Won landmark rental licensing regulation for 1-2 unit dwellings in Baltimore City homes.
2019 Won statewide minimum wage for nearly 600,000 workers who will see steady increases from $10.10 today to $15 by 2025.
2019 We successfully re-framed the conversation about the Baltimore Budget process, although our voter initiative did not get on the ballot.