As a part of my MICA experience, my cohort and I took a seminar with local organizer, Glenn Ross. He offered a guided tour of East Baltimore charting major toxic waste dumps and landfills, plotting out the paths and waves of “white flight” from the surrounding neighborhoods, focusing on his personal neighborhood where he had lived for the better part of four decades, McElderly Park. Calling it a “Toxic Tour,” it was his hypothesis the trash and chemical dumpings from city and larger organizations, like Johns Hopkins, was a form of racism (and classism), as the citizens of these communities were often afflicted with health issues, including asthma and related cancers, as a result. He also cited the hundreds of families that were also forced out this community via eminent domain and/or organized blight that proved most beneficial to said University’s campus expansion.
While on this tour, we also learned Glenn had aspirations to run for a State Delegate seat, to further educate the community and to make a large impact of change for his struggling community. My volunteerism and graphic designer muscles kicked in and I started inquiring on his campaign strategy and marketing calendar. Turns out he had no such infrastructure and was only in the first inklings of a political career path, so we decided to partner and I began attending Green Party meetings with him to learn more about his political standings.
It was there at these meetings, I learned about the high engagement rate of any Baltimore citizen and its political system. Many of the community members were semi- to highly active, either apart of a neighborhood organization, a church, a political organization, or all three. I also learned about what was termed “turquoise politics” — a term to indicate the partnerships between the Democratic and Green Parties objectives. Many Baltimoreans identified as “Turquoise.”
So as apart of my “art making” requirement, I devoted my creativity to creating a whole campaign strategy for Glenn…with both traditional and guerilla tactics. I created a brief breaking down the overall initial campaign and push. The campaign was very successful within the party internally and got a lot of traction with the community, but sadly it wasn’t enough to win Mr. Ross his desired seat. The campaign can be seen here: