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. As founding members of the BRIDGES (Baltimore Resources for Indoor Drug-use Grassroots Education & Safety) Coalition we work to educate our neighbors and communities about overdose prevention sites and other ways to reduce the harm caused by the opioid epidemic.
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. Our organizing in schools builds parent power by through relationships that are the bedrock of transparency between parents, teachers and school administrations.
Trauma & Resilency
Our communities grapple with loss everyday. In our member led support group, neighbors come together to support each other, share resources, and face trauma head first to build resilient neighborhoods and schools.
Inadequate and unsafe housing conditions negatively affect everyone. We organize residents in public housing and rental housing to demand safe, affordable, healthy homes. We also organize all residents who are face forced relocation and gentrification-based displacement.
For three years we worked with youth both during the summer and after-school during the school year. In the summer of 2019 our Youth Organizing Leadership Academy (YOLA) provided education to Youthworks students and other city youth to get a real taste of organizing. After 5 weeks of paid training, several youth were promoted into our organizing practicum to hit the streets with our organizing team. These young leaders continue to raise their voices to demand what is right in Baltimore City, the state of Maryland, and the entire country.
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.
2016-18 Organized monthly trauma 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. While our voter initiative did not get on the ballot, city council members are looking into putting a charter amendment on the ballot modeled after our legislation.