Black Yield Institute (BYI) and Farm Alliance of Baltimore (FAB) have released a report, Community Control of Land: The People's Demand for Land Reparations in Baltimore City. In this session, BYI and FAB organizers will share the context of Baltimore City land use (and non-use) in primarily poor and Black communities (also known as the Black Butterfly). Presenters will also share the organizing process, themes of the community dialogues, and post-report organizing efforts. The session will conclude will discourse and Q&A related to the necessity of such coalition building on the expressed pursuit of Black land and Food Sovereignty in Baltimore. Participants should come prepared for anecdotes, facts, and perspectives through storytelling about the struggle to free the land in Baltimore.
Eric Jackson is an organizer, educator, and filmmaker. He humbly serves as Servant-Director of Black Yield Institute, a Pan-African institution based in Baltimore, Maryland committed to movement building toward Black Land and Food Sovereignty. Eric has over ten years of experience in organizing, education, and program development and management. Of these years, Eric worked with others in various capacities to support community development in Cherry Hill (an urban village in Baltimore) on issues of food access, improving education opportunities, and organizational capacity building. In 2018, Eric co-directed a film entitled, Baltimore’s Strange Fruit, a documentary film that explores the intersections of food, land, race, and class politics through personal narrative and social commentary.
Ultimately, Eric’s vision is to organize and develop leadership within Black and poor communities with the goals of dismantling racism, building greater social, political and economic power, and establish self-determination through institution and movement building. Outside of his work, Eric, a life-long resident of Baltimore, Maryland, enjoys teaching, reading, and basketball. Playing spades, connecting with good people and eating good food.
Show Azar is the Land Sovereignty Organizer at Black Yield Institute. Born in Baltimore and raised in Hanover, MD, he graduated from Salisbury University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Social Work, respectively. When he came back to Baltimore, he chose to dedicate himself to community organizing and social policy.
Professionally, he serves Baltimore communities as an adjunct professor and entrepreneurial ecosystem builder. Artistically, he is learning as he grows in revolutionary thought and action with musicianship being his primary medium/offering. When he is not working with BYI, he is rocking with Baltimore-based, Free Jazz Band, Konjur Collective, as a multi-instrumentalist and performer.
Mariya Strauss came to the Farm Alliance in 2017 from a career in advocacy journalism and in grassroots organizing work on a national level. She is an advocate for justice throughout the food system and supply chain, and is committed to helping Baltimore’s urban farms prosper in a changing world. A native of Oak Park, Illinois, she has lived in Baltimore since 2009.