Imagining Justice in Baltimore Fellows to Lead Fall Forums


The Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies named recently its 2018 Imagining Justice in Baltimore Fellows. The institute endeavors to bring together polarized and fragmented Baltimore communities by selecting 24 early- or mid- career Baltimoreans as IJB Community Leaders who have a track record in community service and/or social justice work to lead four public conversations about justice in Baltimore during the fall of 2018.

This year’s fellows include Kathryn Frey-Balter, federal public defender for the District of Maryland; Diane Goldsmith, program associate for Repair the World Baltimore at Jewish Volunteer Connection, an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore; Rachel Kraft Elliott, chief of staff and vice president of community development at CHAI; Noah Mitchel, program coordinator for Baltimore Jewish Council; Jennifer Ruddick Zunikoff, founder and director of The Golden Door: Storytelling for Social Justice; Joshua Sherman, associate at Repair the World Baltimore at Jewish Volunteer Connection. Also selected were, from the Baltimore Jewish Council, Kathleen St. Villar, director of the Elijah Cummings Youth Program, and Tariq Najee-ullah, co-leader of BJC’s Interfaith Trialogue Series.

The cohort just completed a four-week community leaders mini-course to prepare them to lead the four citywide community conversations on four Thursdays: Oct. 4 and 18 and Nov. 1 and 15 from 5-9 p.m. at venues to be determined. The fellows are also expected to produce two blog posts or videos for the ICJS Huffington Post blog on their experiences.

“The initiative is so important because it’s bringing faith community leaders together, leaders who are using their communities’ power to work toward a more just Baltimore,” Mitchel of the BJC said via email. “It’s been really helpful for me to see how the other leaders accomplish this, and how their social justice work is informed by their faith communities and vice versa. I’m looking forward to gaining an even deeper insight from talking to faith community members at the community conversations this fall.”

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