The Associated Black Charities launched its 2013 Speaker Series April 16 with a conversation with former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, the first in an annual series of non-political events in which leaders past and present share their journeys through the African-American community and perspective.
The Maryland-based organization was established in 1985 to respond to the issues and disparities African Americans face in their communities. It is one of the only African-American public foundations in the United States, and remains dedicated to help facilitate better life skills, environments and wellness in the Black community.
In a conversation with Associated Black Charities President and CEO Diane Bell McKoy, Dixon recalled her journey to her mayoral seat and how she became highly involved within the community of Baltimore.
“As a child, I had a White teacher who told me I would never amount to anything,” said Dixon.
She said that statement gave her the motivation and fortitude to be someone and be there to help others, pointing her into a teaching career with Baltimore City Public Schools.
“As a teacher, I would never tell anyone or any student, that they wouldn’t be anything.” Dixon said.
As Dixon’s career progressed, she said the political arena provided additional ways to assist the community whenever possible.
Dixon said she first became involved with Associated Black Charities when she was in office in 2007 and was “very supportive” of the organization’s mission.
Dixon remains active in her church, Bethel A.M.E. Church in Baltimore, and is preparing for her son to go off to college. She also serves on the Maryland Foster Care Resource Center board, saying the center assists “young people who have out-aged the foster system and start living independently.”
Upcoming Speakers Series events will include presentations by CNN and NBC host Mario Armstrong as well as The Honorable Robert M. Bell, former chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
“The Speakers Series is an opportunity for emerging and young leaders to interact and hear first hand from Marylanders from various aspects of professional life about why it is important for them to invest their energies and careers in making a positive impact on the communities they serve,” said Bell-McKoy.