March 15, 2012 in Speakers
Major Melvin Russell of the Baltimore City Police Department was our lunchtime speaker on Tuesday, March 13th. Also in attendance was Pastor Matt Stevens, a good friend of Major Russell. We were honored to have them join us for lunch.
Major Russell is the commanding officer of Baltimore’s Eastern District where he specializes in drug enforcement. Russell was the first African American to graduate from the Police Academy as class valedictorian. He is also an active member of his church, and a committed husband to his wife, Lolita. Together Major Russell and Lolita are raising a blended family of eight children.
Major Russell has served on the Baltimore P.D. for 33 years, and he is committed to revitalizing East Baltimore — the most impoverished area of our city. A shocking 46% of the residents in East Baltimore are living below the poverty line. This same area also contains the largest percentage of vacant homes. Major Russel and Pastor Stevens aim to change this.
“We cannot change East Baltimore if we just rely on the Baltimore City Police Department. We need to come together as community to change this environment,” declared Russell. “If you work with the citizens of Baltimore, they will work with you…”
This community is lacking local shops where its residents can purchase healthy food and home goods at a reasonable price. They need good transportation, improved housing and better living conditions. The people who live in East Baltimore love their neighborhood and want to see it thrive.
Major Russell is teaming up with churches, businesses, service organizations and institutions to create positive and lasting change. The Transformation Team, a new non-profit organization is leading the way in these efforts. Community leaders such a Russell and Pastor Stevens are spearheading this initiative, and they are looking to get all of Baltimore’s citizens involved.
We look forward to learning more about The Transformation Team and working with our friends and neighbors in East Baltimore to improve this part of the city. Many thanks to Major Russell and Pastor Stevens for speaking to us, and we hope to make this the beginning of lasting partnership to improve our city for all its residents.