A Little Bit Of Everything

Anthropology by the Wire - Summer 2011

Reblogged from dricoanthro


On Friday, the crew gave each of the boys their own flip camera to capture some of the weekend. Julian and I went to Sharp-Leadenhall today to pick up the cameras and hang out with the Clean and Green team after they got off work.

After we parked, we walked to St. Stephens, their “office”, to meet up with them. When we knocked on the door, a woman told us that they had just left. So we called Mr. Sam and he met us down the road to take us to them. He knocked on the door and Kavonte’s Grandmother the door and sent him out. Sydney and Jamar saw us and yelled down to us from the top windows. After about ten minutes of conversation in code red weather, his Grandmother poked her head out the door and invited us into the wonderful their house. She offered us ice cups, which if you’ve never had one, surpass the generic shaved ice or snowball in my book. I was instantly cooled from the extreme heat.

Kavonte gathered the boys and sat down on the couch to put on a movie. The movie he put on happened to strike up some interesting conversations. I found that after the topics were brought to attention, they were more interested in asking us questions and finding out about us. Just by hanging outside of work, we realised that their traits seem to carry over into their “chill time”.

Sydney seemed to deflect my conversation by asking me about curiosities he had about myself and Julian. But he also wouldn’t answer a question we asked without five lies before the truth. It’s become his “game” with us and it’s become obvious who the “jokester”of the group was. Kavonte tended to kind of just spill the beans after a while. He seems to be the “leader” of the group not only at home, but during the work day. Ms. Betty and Mr. Sam have said - and we’ve seen -the way he steps up to the plate. Jamar entertained himself on one of the couches with a new media pad, and wasn’t really saying much but would chime in occasionally. He is the “modest hard worker” in my eyes. He is always busy working really hard to help, keep up with the older boys, and lend Mr. Sam a hand if he needs it. He worked hard, and he rests hard.

Tomorrow, the crew will be heading back down to take footage of the gardening they will be doing for the neighborhoodtomorrow. We hope to be bringing home some good material to add to our Clean and Green clip. I have started to grow very fond of Shap-Leadenhall and the boys. I’m looking forward to returning by myself after ABW is over to possibly continue my research in some of the areas that were brought up in conversation today.

Cara Heasley

Rico, Julian, Natalie and myself got to meet the first ever, original Clean and Green Team on Thursday. The first day was just an introduction with a few interviews to begin with. Ms. Betty Bland-Thomas, Mr. Sam (director), and the team all shared with us how the Green Team works, where they work and how the organization came to be. 

On Friday bright and early, we all returned to Sharp-Leadenhall to spend a day with the boys and Mr. Sam. When we arrived, we walked to M.C. Deans million dollar corporation  to sweep the streets and pick up trash. We soon learned that M.C. Dean is one of the top electrical companies as well as one of Clean and Greens top sponsor. The boys also told us that after they’re done with Clean and Green, they will each get a mentor from M.C Dean that Mr. Sam said could be a potential future job for them. 

The boys seemed to be having a blast working together. They taught me some of the skills they learned from the sanitation training they had about 2 weeks ago so that I could actually help instead of just push the dirt around and be in the way. Surprisingly there is a skill, and they’ve got it mastered. 

At about eleven, the boys, Julian and I walked to the market to grab lunch. As we were walking, I asked the oldest boy if they had anywhere in there town besides the market to eat. He replied, “7-eleven and the market”. This means that unless they walk to the other side of the market into Federal Hill, those are their only two options which I thought was very interesting. So we grabbed some grub, and headed back to the church to enjoy a lunch together before we had to leave.

Today, Julian and I had planned to go watch the boys play in a basketball game, however, Mr. Sam called this morning to let us know it was canceled. The Boys all have flips and will be taking their own footage to collaborate with our footage. We plan to be down there all day on Monday to tape the last of the footage as well as get the boys involved with the editing process. 

Cara Heasley

Reblogged from zmyersanthro

Zach, Jay and I got a chance to interview Dan Van Allen, the president of the Arrabbers Preservation Society. Unfortunately we could not film, but there are some pictures to go along with the audio. :) 

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake before the key exchange.

My camera skills need to stop suffering from my lack of patience with bugs and sunburn. Note to self: bring OFF and sun tan lotion. Sorry :/

On Thursday June 30, the crew and I traveled downtown to Patterson Park to be witnesses of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake key ceremony. Nine homeowners finally received their key’s to their new homes along with a bible. A few words of advice were given from the CEO, members and volunteers of Habitat, church leaders, elected officials, and the mayor of Baltimore, and we were all there to be a part of it.

I feel so lucky to have gotten a chance to celebrate this event with Sharon. Sharon and I spoke for about a half hour before the ceremony began, and her story made my hair stand on end. She is such a motivated individual who has done a good job at getting what she wants. Even though it took a lot of hard work and perseverance, she is finally moving into her home, not an apartment, but a home to call her own. Sharon is and has been an inspiration to not only me, but to everyone who gets a chance to hear her story.  

Habitat for Humanity is encouraging Baltimore and other regions to be a part of Pragmatic Solidarity: teach what you’ve been fortunate enough to learn, act upon what you see needs fixing, and be respectful, kind and helpful throughout life and block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, pragmatic solidarity can mend individuals troubles to then mend a communities brokenness.

Cara Heasley

Reblogged from zmyersanthro

Wow - What an experience. 

Not only was I amazed by the hard work of all the people and organizations involved with HIV testing at BioScrip yesterday, but I was so proud of my partner Zach and myself for being a part of the event from 930 am until 830 pm.

Zach, arrived at my apartment at 830 in the morning with his camera, about a hundred batteries, 4 hours of tape, his charger, and other miscellaneous gadgets to go along. But what I noticed more than the 30 pound bag hanging over his shoulder, was a person who was just as anxious and excited as I was that the day was finally here. So we got on our way, stopped for coffee, and unbeknownst to us had just began a journey that ended up being (and I feel that Zach would agree) one of the most exhilarating, chaotic, inspiring, tiring, emotional, and intense days of my life.

When we got into Baltimore, and as usual, had to find parking. We parked a few blocks down and had to walk up a few blocks to get to BioScrip. When we finally made it there we were given blue City Uprising t-shirts, that if I have to say so myself, are awesome. Not only because they look awesome, but as we found out later, it ended up being a great conversion starter to spread the word about HIV testing in not only Baltimore, but in our home towns as well.

Once the education and paperwork station and testing stations were ready to go, Ally led the team in a moment of silence followed by a few inspirational words. I remember my hair raising and feeling a sort of adrenaline rush as she gave us this sort of pep talk for the day she knew would fallow.

We began by just hanging out in the back and observed how the system worked while we interviewed a few of the volunteers working that day. There were the Neighbors who where working on the streets handing out rave cards and encouraged everyone to be tested. There were all sorts of people testing, escorting, educating and helping to organize the event.

There was not one person who did not amaze me with their story. There were the most incredibly driven staff I have ever been involved with. Through the ups and downs of delivering test results, talking to complete strangers about uncomfortable topics, as well as being tested myself, the person who kept us smiling was Ally. She was was so motivated and driven that it must have rubbed off on Zach and I.

Around 3, Zach and I had come to realize we couldn’t just walk out before it was over. So we decided to stay and film beginning to end as well as volunteer our time, help and knowledge to the community and be around the most incredible people in the world.

By the end of our day, even the city scape looked more beautiful than it did when we had first arrived. Way to go City Uprising, Baltimore. You have just changed two more lives.

Cara Heasley :D

(Source: zmyersanthro, via anthropologybythewire)

Reblogged from zmyersanthro

Peace, Love and Neoliberalism

"Charm City".

I want to admit I didn’t fully understand how or why this term Charm City came about. Because I am not from Baltimore, my impression of Baltimore had been altered a little after seeing the show The Wire. When I recently began to explore the city on my own, I tried my best to forget what I had seen on TV and begin fresh. However, I couldn’t help but see the trash on the streets, people littering, boarded up homes, and streets that would quickly knock off your cars alignment. However, after speaking with my colleagues and new friends during Friday’s activities, it actually clicked. 

One thing that a rural life is lacking is a sense of community. I have found that Baltimore, a.k.a “Smalltimore”, it is not just another run down, shattered, or ignored city. It is a place of love, faith, family, friends, art and over-all community togetherness. Just like any place in the world, it has it’s downfalls. However, over the course of the past few weeks, there has yet to be a person that I have not been inspired by in some shape or form. 

I recently met a woman who has been living in downtown Baltimore since the 1970’s. She has been the one person in particular that magnified my feelings about Baltimore and has been in the back of my head since we spoke on Friday. I have come to realize that I can think of only one word to describe this amazing person, and that is superwoman.

After telling us her incredible story, I realized I could endanger her just by describing certain aspects of her and her life. Living in a city known as “Smalltimore”, everyone knows everyone. It is hard to get around the city without walking past the same houses and the same people. So with this in consideration, I will do my best to respect the fact that she receives threats on a regular basis and hide the aspects that could identify her. I feel the least I can do is not heighten her risk by publicizing personal characteristics that could easily be accessed on the web. 

Not long after sitting down with her and a few of her “colleagues”, my partners and I realized the intensity of this woman’s courage and faith within the community. To say it simply without detail, she is the angel over her town. She patrols the streets looking for crime to put an end too, as well as reach out a hand for those in need…without a paycheck to do it. Unfortunately, the cops have manage to ignore certain parts of the city due to the reputation the blocks hold, and leave it up to the residents to deal with and tolerate. Like I mentioned before, her neighborhood was once filled with gang affiliated affairs. Since she has been in Baltimore, she has stopped countless muggings, robberies and sexual assaults by just waking the streets day and night carrying a cell phone with 911 on speed dial. She said that there hasn’t been a murder on their block in years, and after hearing a few of her stories, I think it’s safe to say this is much thanks to their superwoman. Now a days, the ones that are up to no good see her and run, therefore subsiding a lot of the crime.

Now I know I cant speak for anyone but myself, but I find it amazing that despite witnessing the crimes commited, being framed by the police, and constantly being involved with the downfalls in her neighborhood, she still loves and cares about her community. After the stories I heard, I feel like I would have given up, however, she loves what she does because she knows it is protecting her friends that she loves - even if they are involved. There is no doubt in her mind that there is love, hope, and togetherness in her community. But she will never give up fighting everyday for peace on her block. 

With that said, I learned the meaning of “Charm City” by discovering the evil truths that lie in the city that are being fought with compassion. Charm city is not about the aesthetics of the city, but about the people. She is a prime example of how a lot of the population in Baltimore has been negatively effected by things like de-industrialization, gentrification and neoliberalism, but they still hold true to their morals of community and family. There are warm hearts and open arms looking for peace and harmony on every block…..a.k.a “Charm City”.


A few pictures from the block party on Saturday 18, 2011. I am getting more and more anxious about starting my work with the Clean and Green Team! 

Cara Heasley :D