I moved here from Florida for school about a year ago. I think it takes a minute for people to realize their little niche in Baltimore. I’ve finally found my niche and that’s Mt. Vernon. I love this area. I love it so much. I have more of a sense of community than I ever had living in the suburbs of Florida. When I go home, people have these predisposed ideas of Baltimore, especially after the riots. And it’s almost as though I take offense to it because it’s like, “You have no idea.” It’s called “Charm City” for a reason. I would never move back. I love it here.
I have eight brothers and sisters. We don’t all live together. I like it that I have so many people I can go to for support. I know so many people who’ve grown up poor without the things they need to grow and build. I’m doing a Masters in Public Health at University of Maryland, College Park. Once I get my Masters, I want to help rebuild communities.
I came from Bangladesh 11 years ago. When I got off the plane I thought I reached my dream. I didn’t know one person in America. I spent one night with the friend of a relative, then I found my own place the next day. Dacca is similar to Baltimore in the look. The riots surprised me. In Bangladesh there are some riots, but I didn’t think it could happen in America.
I came to the city initially because I really loved it. A lot of great food. There’s always something to do. I came about a month and a half ago. I’m on my own. I have a studio apartment. I’m actually moving in with my boyfriend this weekend. It’s nerve-wracking, but it’s exciting. I’ve never lived with anybody before so that will be new. But it’s definitely more exciting than scary.
It’s a mural about peace and love. I got the idea earlier this month when I was working with kids on creating a mural design, and we came up with this to inspire people in the neighborhood because of the recent uprising. The neighborhood needs positive influences and positive energy. I was raised on a tobacco farm in south Anne Arundel County. It was just like this — working in the hot sun. We cut tobacco and hung it in the barn.
I came here to go to MICA and never looked back. I fell in love with the city. There’s so much work that has to be done — as a social designer that’s your bread and butter. Looking at complex, challenging situations and figuring out how to shift things for the better — that’s social design. It makes a lot of sense to be in Baltimore to do this. I feel like I have a responsibility to stay.
Behind my grandmother’s house in the country there was a long, yellow clay and sand road that led into the woods where my uncles would shoot down mistletoe in the big trees. When we were quite small, my brother and I would always find money…pennies, nickels and dimes… as we walked on that road with my uncles. We called it the Money Road. It was wonderful! Only much later did I find out that my dear uncles salted that road with that magical money, as they led the way to the mistletoe woods.