Health, solo travels and the Baltimore uprising were just a few of the topics presented at Ignite Baltimore #16 last week. A dozen technologists, artists and thinkers took the stage at the Brown Center at the Maryland Institute College of Art for a string of rapid-fire talks.
At Ignite Baltimore, speakers tackle big topics in five minutes while slides automatically advance every 15 seconds. After being rescheduled due to the protests following the killing of Freddie Gray, Ignite Baltimore opened to a lively crowd.
Here’s what stuck with us:
- Finding a Roommate on Craigslist: Racial Discrimination and Housing Segregation. Raj Ghoshal, an assistant professor at Goucher College spoke on the parallels between race and finding a roommate on Craigslist. Ghoshal and a colleague placed 1,500 ads in three metro areas in order to see if race played a part in the chance of receiving a response. A summary of his findings shows that changing the applicant’s name to one that can’t be associated with any ethnic group, like Eric or Andrew, gave them a better chance for a response than if they were using a name like Raheem or Aakar.
- Beatbox and Bumper Stickers. Shaun Callahan enlisted the help of his friend, Chuck “The Mad Ox” Maddox, to interpret his 20 favorite bumper stickers into beatboxing.
- The Flu: From Yearly Danger to Pandemic Nightmare (and what we can do to fight it). Zach Adams made sure to keep the crowd on edge as he spoke about the emerging flu pandemic exhibiting itself in fowl and poultry. His advice? Ride out the flu without medicines and get vaccinated.
- Vaccinate! Nina Martin, host of the Public Health United podcast, warned that the only people we should be getting medical information from are qualified medical personnel — especially when it comes to vaccines. Hours spent on WebMD will no longer cut it. Want better vaccines? Put people in Congress that believe in science and funding basic scientific research.
Aaron Henkin & Wendel Patrick
- Out of the Blocks: Penn/North. Aaron Henkin and Wendel Patrick of WYPR presented an audio piece on the Baltimore uprising with interviews from members of the Sandtown/Winchester community affected during that time.
- Who Are Our Doctors? Tyler Mains, a nonprofit director in Baltimore city, spoke about the lack of access to healthcare in two distinct neighborhoods, Sandtown/Winchester and Roland Park, and the quest to inspire students to consider careers in the health field.
- The Struggle for Black Space: Hypersegregation and the Future of Baltimore City. Dr. Lawrence Brown spoke on the decades-long issue of segregation in Baltimore and how it not only hurts the the communities by lack of investment and mistrust in police, it also perpetuates the racial bias and toxic African-American stereotypes.
- Protest and the Power of Storytelling. DeRay Mckesson, protester and connector, allowed the power of social media to enhance his storytelling, which boosted his work in connecting the stories of protest and unrest around police brutality and the media’s coverage of it.
- Budget and Police Data. Myra Margolin took us down the rabbit hole that is the Baltimore City operating budget. Margolin argues that the city ‘s population are treated more like criminals than human beings, pointing to the 18 percent funding cut for the Safe Streets initiative and the 7 percent funding boost for the police budget.
- Around the world in…almost eighty days. Dr. Polly Bart fulfilled her bucket-list dream of traveling the world solo, savoring opportunities to connect with God in Japan and taking cooking classes in Aix-en-Provence.
- Images of an Uprising. Joseph Giordano, staff photographer for the City Paper, showcased his experiences working during the Baltimore uprising.
- Love to Spare. Sarah Ceponis rounded out the evening with a talk about the importance of taking a moment to close the disconnect and shatter the stigma attached to homelessness. Take the time to stop for a second and speak with people experiencing homelessness.
Also, Ignite plans to offer a series of summer grant-writing workshops. Details are forthcoming.