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Regina Hammond, President of ReBUILD Johnston Square

Regina Hammond, President of ReBUILD Johnston Square

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
BUILD
Regina Hammond and her husband Keith live in Johnston Square, an area of east Baltimore with high rates of poverty and crime but also many areas of stable homes.  In July of 2013 Regina attended her first community association meeting. “Children everywhere in the street.  Loud knocks on the door and no one there.  I went to that first community meeting because I wanted the kids to have something to do other than run in the street.  I wanted my home to be peaceful at night and in the summers.” She left before the end of the meeting in frustration that her concerns were not going to be addressed.  Serendipitously, BUILD organizer Terrell Williams was present and followed her out.  That brief interaction led to a series of relational meetings and leadership development including 3-day training.  
 
Regina gathered three other people and Mt Sinai Baptist Church in the neighborhood to form a core team ready to work for change.  The first action was to hold a cleanup in greenspace overgrown with weeds and long neglected by the City. Church youth and adult volunteers and a dozen members of a nearby veterans’ association began the long process of cutting down the weeds and picking up the trash.  They kept up the work and expanded to four quadrants of Johnston Square.  By 2014, word had gotten around that the person to call was Regina if anyone wanted to create change in Johnston Square.  Regina and other neighbors now lead ReBUILD Johnston Square, a community association that receives funding from various foundations and corporate grants.    
 
Beginning with a news article that embarrassed the City into placing the largest neighborhood park back into the capital budget after a 20-year omission, Regina and ReBUILD Johnston Square have leveraged:
  • Over $15,000 in community greening and other grants 
  • $1 million between national recreation and parks grant and Baltimore city recs and parks capital budget
  • Thousands for neighborhood improvements, demolition of abandoned houses and rehab project for others
Regina has characteristics of a leader and sets an example for how organizing power and organizing money can transform lives and communities.