(BALTIMORE – February 19, 2016) – The ORIGINAL Black Wall Street SERIES *NYC *MD *DC *ATL *NOLA continues on Thursday, February 25, 2016 from 6 to 8 pm at Nancy by SNAC at 131 W. North Avenue in Baltimore. Black Wall Street NORTH AVENUE, the theme of this event, will recognize black entrepreneurs and professionals as well as the people who support them regardless of race. Founded in Washington, D.C. in 2011, we have honored hundreds of entrepreneurs in 5 major US cities.
Honorees include Elder Harris. I have known him for years. Consistently, he pushes the envelope for his community – beginning on Historic Pennsylvania Avenue.
Who is Elder C.W. Harris?
Elder C.W. Harris is an African-American spiritual leader who focuses on community development in Baltimore, MD. He pastors Newborn Community of Faith Church and is a life-long resident of the Sandtown-Winchester community located in West Baltimore where he has pioneered the way to a better community, a better society.
One of his passions in life is to serve the people in his community and surrounding communities with resources and programs to enhance its development. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Elder Harris has sought to link up with others in the fight to eradicate poverty by providing decent and affordable housing, quality education, healthcare for all, jobs for the unemployed, and the arts.
Sandtown knows Elder Harris in multiple capacities but first and foremost as a life-long resident familiar with the struggles of the community. As a boy he saw Sandtown while it was independent and thriving. However, beginning in the late 1960’s he witnessed first-hand the tragic decline of his neighborhood as problems of drugs, crime, unemployment, substandard education, depopulation, and decaying housing became epidemics.
It was during this time he began to envision what he could do to make changes. In 1996 Elder Harris, established a non-profit organization called Intersection of Change–IOC (formerly called Newborn Holistic Ministries–NHM) and in 2000 IOC created and opened its first major program called Martha’s
Place which is a recovery program for women overcoming drug addiction and homelessness. The program offers both a six-month transitional phase as well as a long-term independent housing phase. The program helps women achieve sobriety while maintaining a job and housing and serves approximately 50 women per In 2008, IOC created a second major community program called Jubilee Arts to provide the community with a comprehensive arts program as an alternative to the dangers of drugs and violence in the community. Jubilee Arts provides art classes (in ceramics, visual arts, dance, and writing) six days a week and cultural activities to both children and adults and serves approximately 1,500 people annually.
IOC’s work to date has also resulted in significant neighborhood revitalization of the 1900 and 2000 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue through the full renovation of six previously vacant and dilapidated buildings.
Additionally, IOC has acquired seven vacant lots (8,500 sq/ft) adjacent to these buildings and transformed them into beautiful community green spaces with meditative gardens and murals.
Since 2011, Elder Harris has worked to establish a new project called Strength to Love 2 which works to serve the large number of ex-offenders that return to the community each year. The initiative helps coordinate resources for returning citizens who are typically sent home without support networks. One key part of this effort has been the establishment of urban farms on two acres in the community which offer employment and grow produce that supplies local restaurants and Johns Hopkins.
The work that Elder Harris has done and is doing is a sign of concern that he has for his fellow residents. Like a mother, his job is never done. He won’t stop standing up for what’s right and just in his community.
Wherever he is needed, Elder Harris steps up to the plate, rolls up his sleeves up and gets the job done. Elder Harris has created and sustained his leadership by building invaluable relationships with community residents, organizations, and churches, while also developing relationships with outside foundations and supporters. His work as a spiritual leader is a continuation of the historical role that the African-American church has played in fighting for social justice. His work extends over racial and economic lines and demonstrates the need for and potential of further church-led organizations and non-profits.