By Colleen Cowgill, a Fall 2011 intern
More than 400 people recently gathered on a Saturday for a ‘pilgrimage’ along part of a new Baltimore transit line, which is predicted to begin construction in 2015. Co-sponsored by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the pilgrimage was part of a broad coalition effort to show support for the new transit line, and to ensure that local citizens get jobs along the way.
“The need for job creation in Maryland is very real … The NAACP believes that investing in the Red Line is one way to help transform our city and our region, and provide Maryland with a jump start in developing a new economy,” said Jacqueline Boone Allsup, president of the Arundel County Branch of the NAACP.
The coalition, consisting of local congregations, neighborhood groups, and labor unions, walked one quarter of the distance along what will be the new line. With close to $2 billion in funding coming from the state for the project, groups advocated that 50 percent go toward creating local jobs both in constructing and working on the line.
The completed 14.5-mile Red Line route, expected to carry 57,000 people a day, will stretch from Woodlawn to Bay view, connecting the city of Baltimore with surrounding suburbs.
“The Red Line provides people with what they don’t have now: fast, convenient access to work, shopping, entertainment, education and medical care,” said J. Howard Henderson, president and CEO of Greater Baltimore Urban League.
As a co-sponsor of the event, The Leadership Conference supports the goals of the pilgrimage and recognizes the need to not only provide citizens with a better means of transit, but also to ensure local job creation.