"WE NEED YOU HERE." A Conversation with City Council Candidate Zeke Cohen
"We need you here".
You, the intelligent individual who has ended up in Baltimore, for whatever reason, we need you here, and we need you to stay. It's easy to come to Baltimore as a transplant, and in the case of many of us, especially millennials, take your prestigious, well-earned (and expensive) degree and move on. But there are a million reasons not to do that. Baltimore needs young passionate individuals to stick around and invest in this city.
Why? Last night, at a panel about the importance of "place" in Baltimore, B. Cole, founder of Brioxy and Dovecote Cafe, explained the potential and positive implications that result from homeownership. "It's like another step of adulthood...it's probably not that different from having a child, it forces you to think about everything differently". That makes sense. When you own a home, you have every reason to be concerned about what is going in the community and neighborhood around you; you've invested a lot of time and money into this new venture, and you can't up and leave tomorrow. So, all of the sudden you care a lot more.
There are many factors that go into creating that link between transforming a transplant into a long-time resident, and one of them is having a foundation upon which you can build neighborhood and community ties. Grace's Acre, which we've mentioned before, is a tangible example of a community building space, and Grace's Acre is how we linked up with Zeke.
Zeke epitomizes why it's important to keep young, passionate individuals in the city. It's no surprise that, 30 seconds after walking in the door, our conversation focused on the importance of keeping young people here. Zeke came to Baltimore for school and never left. He's actively engaged with the city ever since, and is now running for a seat on City Council.
Whether or not you agree with him as a political candidate, it's hard not to be inspired by Zeke's passion for Baltimore City. Early on in our conversation with him we posed the question, "what made you decide you needed to stay here?" His answer? The potential is here, he said, "If we can get it right here [in Baltimore] we can get it right anywhere." For young people looking to set up shop in Baltimore City that is a hopeful message. Of all the cities in all the world, Baltimore could be the one where we really get it right.
Listen in on this noisy (High Grounds is not a quiet place, but it's a great place and you should probably go there) bit of audio from Zeke and learn about his passion for the city.
If you're here in Baltimore and you like it here, make sure to tell people. Make sure to remind people that they have a stake in their community. Remind people to vote and remind people, "we need you here."
Tomorrow, April 16, Zeke will be hosting an early voting brunch at Filippo's Pizzeria (418 S.Conkling Street). Stop in before heading off to vote.
*This is not a formal endorsement. Zeke's just a cool guy to grab some coffee with and we like that he's bullish on Baltimore.