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Why Baltimore Needed Light City

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Why Baltimore Needed Light City

On March 30, I looked out into the crowd as I prepared to speak about the ties between hip hop and energy during the Sustainability Innovation Conference at Light City and couldn’t help but be reminded of where we as a city stood only a few months before.

However, as the crowd looked up at me peacefully in anticipation of my speech, I realized that this festival was more than just a celebration of music, culture, imagination and innovation.

It was a celebration of our unity, our creativity and our diversity. You could feel the energy in Baltimore during Light City from the dancing light display on the water to the diamond lights shaped like different geometric objects. The lights, the music, and the intellectual stimulation created a week-long impact needed for our city.  Conferences, like the one I had the pleasure of presenting at, served as a way of spreading awareness and educating the public on health innovation, social innovation, creative innovation, and sustainability innovation.

When describing Light City to a friend, I mentioned that it’s SXSW + TEDX + an incredible display of lights. The seven-day festival truly brought out the best in Baltimore. It demonstrated the city’s diversity— not just racial diversity, but its socioeconomic diversity, its cultural diversity, its intellectual diversity, and its creative diversity— all of which are so easy to forget when we talk about diversity.

After a most challenging 12 months and an upcoming city-wide election, it was good to see the city unite around Light City.

I have to stop and give special kudos to organizers Brooke Hall and Justin Allen, and lead sponsors and producers like Baltimore Gas and Electric and the Baltimore Office of Promotions & The Arts for having the vision to bring this to life. As the saying goes, “timing is everything” and I wonder if Hall and Allen knew when they conceived the idea, that Light City was just what Baltimore needed at this time.

Hall and Allen had a dream that served as a way to bring the city closer together after a tragedy. As their dream comes to a close for this year, I leave you with this quote from Aesop, “the level of success is limited only by our imagination…”.


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