Sydney Pinkett, a second-year student at Loyola University Maryland, is an exemplary model of civic leadership on our campus and in our Baltimore community. As a Baltimore native, Sydney has stepped into leadership roles throughout her life to help cultivate relationships and address inequities within her community. Throughout high school and undergrad, Sydney has worked with organizations like the Baltimore City Health Department to improve HIV/AIDS data, US Dream Academy to mentor youth whose parents are incarcerated, and worked with a local shelter to gather menstruation supplies for people experiencing homelessness. Over the past year, Sydney has worked tirelessly in collaboration with Loyola’s School of Education and Govans Elementary School to launch the Community-Engaged Literacy Project to increase student literacy outcomes. In managing volunteer tutors, Sydney has aimed to create long-term social change by connecting campus with Baltimore educators who are working to address educational inequity. Sydney’s commitment to justice, and to incorporating spirituality into those efforts, is essential to our work as a Jesuit, Catholic university that strives to be a welcoming, inclusive community for all. Our campus, our community, and our world need more people like Sydney who live out their faith in action with purpose and conviction.
Growing up in Baltimore Maryland, I am no stranger to the social issues that plague the city. Whether it is lack of access to fresh produce and healthy food options or clean and safe places for kids to play. Even though I was made aware of the numerous inequities, I also spent time connected to centers and organizations like the Carmelo Anthony Youth Development Center, Lillian Jones Rec Center, and even the Baltimore City Health Department who made it their mission to bridge the gap between the need and the hurting population. Through these experiences, I have found and developed my passions through which I can approach the root cause of social issues; a lack of community. Without community, we have already failed to make a difference. Through this experience, I hope to grow my community of like-minded individuals who are focused on creating the change we all desire. While my focus area is health inequities and access to education, I hope to connect with others whose focus area differs from mine so we can have a greater impact in our individual communities and abroad.