You may know Mark Edelson as the President of the Canton Community Association. But did you know he’s also an attorney, member of the Democratic Central Committee D-46, community activist, and lover of all things music and Bmore? We had a chance to catch up with him (trust us, this wasn’t easy as he’s a busy man) and here’s what he shared.
Anyone who’s chatted with you knows that’s not a Bawlmer accent. Tell us, how long have you lived in Canton and how did you get here?
I was born in Pretoria, South Africa. I moved to Baltimore in 2007 for law school. After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law in 2010, I moved to Canton and have lived here ever since. This is my chosen home in every sense of the word.
How did you get involved with the CCA?
I am a long time public transportation advocate and wanted to get involved in this work and in the community so I became a member of the CCA Transportation Committee. I was also instrumental in saving the now-infamous Potomac Street Bike Lane (which I use regularly) and just got more and more involved until I became president!
So, you’re coming up on your 1-year anniversary as President of the CCA… how did it compare to your expectations?
It has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Getting to work with such an energized, thoughtful, and connected group of board members has far exceeded my expectations. There is no question it’s a lot of work, but I far underestimated how much fun it would be.
What were your goals for 2018 and did you accomplish them?
I had 3 goals coming into the role: 1) establish a monthly newsletter of event and information for the community; 2) engage our young families with more activities for kids and younger parents; and 3) support our aging population with information and community resources. Goal number 1 has been a great success. Goal number 2 is a work in progress but we’ve made major strides by contributing to events like Light Night Canton, community Halloween & Holiday festivities, and our involvement with the Tot Lot. Goal number 3 is going to take more work and strategic planning in 2019.
How did the community help or respond?
The community has been wonderful: open to new ideas, eager to get involved, and quick to lend a hand. This is also a testament to the work put in by each individual board member to engage and activate their neighbors.
What did you learn about Canton in the process?
There are so many people in this community that care deeply about their neighbors and the success of their fellow residents. Canton is and will continue to be one of the most important neighborhoods in the long-term growth and aspirations of Baltimore. We can and should be the big brother to help lift up and improve the communities surrounding us. It has been incredible to see how many fellow Cantonites believe in those ideals and are willing to work to achieve them. Oh, and also we have the best locally-owned businesses around!
What are your goals for 2019?
My first goal is to keep working to improve communication and synchronization with the communities that surround us. I also plan to do everything I can to empower our public safety committee to implement local initiatives that I know will keep us safer like our soon-to-be revealed “Light Up Canton” program. And, I will do everything I can to be a helpful and useful resource to the residents of Canton.
Is there anything else you'd like our community to know?
Only that our board is working so hard to continue improving life in Canton but it’s impossible to do alone. A wise person once told me we are everything with our volunteers and we are nothing without them. As we move into 2019, if your New Year’s resolution is to get more involved with your community, please reach out and tell us how we can help you with that goal. If there is something you think we could be doing better, please tell us! If there is something you think we should be adding to what we do - please let us know and get involved! We are open to all ideas and suggestions.
To reach Mark Edelson, email firstname.lastname@example.org.