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Posted under: Opinion Politics Discover

This HBCU grad takes on Baltimore City politics #StopAskingForPermission

For the past five years I have spent time trying to break down the communication barriers between local government and its constituents. Tired of watching plans be made without the input of community members affected, and watching entire communities erased at the hands of developers, I wondered where were the others, who like me, believed in being vocal when it came to local government matters. Lets face it, local government is a big deal; they make decisions that affect our immediate everyday lives. They deal with matters that range anywhere from water to transportation barriers . So when I ask many of my colleagues, HBCU classmates, family, and friends why they aren’t participating in local politics, they say it's because they feel that they need permission to participate. That presumption that you need permission to participate in changing your community and government is archaic and is false. No permission is needed to fight for change, and in an effort to prove, this every week I’ll be bringing to you people who are doing just that, changing their local government without asking for permission.
Photo: Gravitasm
Photo: Gravitasm
Photo: Gravitasm

First up is Baltimore native Marques Dent.

Marques Dent and a group of Black millennials always knew of the issues plaguing their beloved charm city. Yet, it wasn’t until the death of Freddie Gray that they decided to stop asking for permission and to tack action. Led by Dent, they have formulated the “New City Council” movement. This is an energetic group of young folks who are new to politics but have served in various roles in their community, This April they all will be on the ballot for the primary election hoping to take over a few City Council seats in Baltimore City.
Photo: The Dent Group
Photo: The Dent Group
Photo: The Dent Group Marques Dent, a graduate of Tennessee State University and decorated Air Force Veteran has had an itch to be a political figure in his city since the age of 11 when he had his father take him to the million man march. After hearing Louis Farrakhan speak about being better men, he built his life’s mission on being a better man for Baltimore city. Dent has been known to challenge city officials and the way they spend tax payers dollars, force City Officials to create plans that provide youth with summer jobs, force cops to community police and play baseball with kids, and encourage city officials to not forget about their senior citizens. Where the local government fell short Dent picked up the slack establishing the D.E.N.T Group, which provides after school programs for students in East Baltimore, educational training in IT to ex offenders, and provides ex offenders with jobs. With all of this under his belt, Marques Dent is a prime example of why you don't need permission to change your community.
Photo: Baltimore Sun
Photo: Baltimore Sun
Photo: Baltimore Sun When asked what three things he would tell someone interested in taking that big move from seeking permission to acting Dent stated, “ The first thing is partnerships. One person can only so do much. When creating the New City Council we had to think about what each individual brought to the table. We realized that collective skills could make a collective difference. Second, focus on fixing one problem at a time. You cant solve, homelessness, food deserts, transportation and education all at once. And finally remember that you don’t need permission to make your government work for you and to get involved.”
Photo: The New City Council
Photo: The New City Council
Photo: The New City Council I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Dent and wish him and the New City Council luck in April during midterm elections. Whether you are in Baltimore or another city, make sure you are registered to vote and educate yourself on the newest candidates who are expected to serve you. Most importantly remember no permission is ever needed to make a change. Tell me some ways you’re changing your community or drop the name of someone you know who isn’t asking for permission to do what is necessary. You never know Blavity might just highlight you!
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