As we count down to the Critical Social Justice: Baltimore 365 keynote event “Baltimore in Action: Always Rising” on Tuesday, October 20th, we’ll be profiling all of our keynote speakers in our “What You Need to Know” series.
Marisela B. Gomez, activist, public health professional, and author
Marisela B. Gomez is a community activist, author, public health professional, and physician scientist. She received a BS and MS from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, a PHD, MD, and MPH from the Johns Hopkins University. Of Afro-Latina ancestry, she has spent more than 20 years in Baltimore involved in social justice activism and community building/health research and practice.
Some of her most notable work includes working on and leading the Save Middle East Action Committee which was created by residents living north of the Johns Hopkins Medical Center in an area called Middle East in response to learning the area would become the future site of a $1.8 billion redevelopment project known as the John Hopkins Biotech Park. Marisela was interestingly positioned in this battle as she was a resident of the area and a community member of the Johns Hopkins Medical Center. She would later go on to write a book about the organizing experience, the historical disinvestment of Middle East, and the ongoing consequences of race, economic, and institutional power inequities faced by marginalized communities.
“Supposed you learned about your community like they did, through The Sun [paper]?… You don’t stop big projects initiated by Johns Hopkins University. But you can slow it down, you can seek to change the dollar amount of those whose homes are to be used and you can still struggle for the right of re-entry. You can still ﬁght to make sure the residents who are to be moved out can stay in the neighborhood.” †
Since 2004, she has been studying and practicing mindfulness and other forms of meditation around the world. Most recently, she’s been sharing her meditation practices with activists doing racial justice and social justice work through retreats and workshops with the Baltimore community.
Much of the conversation about Baltimore — especially in the aftermath of the April uprisings — centers around West Baltimore while little attention from national and local media is given to the issues facing East Baltimore. The Critical Social Justice planning committee is excited to have Marisela join our keynote panel and give voice to the experiences of the East Baltimore community. Moreover, we are eager to learn ways in which we can add to our self-care toolkit and learn ways to combat burnout when engaging in important social and racial justice activist work.
For more on Marisela, check out:
- Her website – A Path: Race, Class Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore
- This segment on the Marc Steiner Show where Marisela discusses her book entitled Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore: Rebuilding Abandoned Communities in America
- Listen to this podcast interview on the Importance of Listening and Community Involvement in Rebuilding Cities featured on Indypendent Reader
- For more information on the rebuilding of the Middle East and SMEAC.
- Visit the Baltimore and Beyond: Mindfulness Community to learn more about the mindfulness retreats Marisela facilitates for social justice activists.