You’ll be hard-pressed to find much greenery in West Baltimore, Maryland until you walk to the intersection of Presstman Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
There, within the concrete jungle, is a beautiful oasis of trees, bushes and a koi pond. It’s all party of the grand vision of the non-profit Intersection of Change.
In the 20 years Intersection of Change has been around, they’ve completely transformed the intersection of Presstman Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. They spruced up a rundown park and fountain. They’ve painted murals on empty walls, and in 2009 opened the Jubilee Arts Center, which has a dance and art gallery and several art studios.
This group, originally known as the Newborn Holistic Ministries, was founded by Elder C.W. Harris and his wife Emilia Harris in 1996.
It was in response to the slow decline in the neighborhood, which Emilia says began after the riots of 1968. They wanted to know what their neighbors needed to thrive, not just survive.
“It’s not what other people think we need, it’s what the community residents, those that live here, work here, those that have raised children here (need),” Harris said.
Intersection of Change started with renovating a vacant building into a rehab center for women, called Martha’s Place. Women come to stay for six months to beat their addiction and learn how to get back on their feet. Not long after opening Martha’s Place, Emilia Harris realized there was another need: Proper housing for their graduates.