Gabrielle Baker - Towson University
"Gabrielle is a student leader who has made valuable contributions to fostering a culture of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion on campus and beyond...[She] also seeks opportunities to engage in conversations with people who hold opposing views...Being part of the [TMA Civic Fellowship program] will allow her to expand her leadership skills and knowledge to further transform into an active co-creator of a shared, just, and equitable future at Towson University and beyond."
Dr. Melanie Perreault
Interim President, Towson University
As a Black woman in America, I always think about how to make the world a more peaceful and inclusive place. I have found art to be an empowering and uplifting form of activism that allows me to address racial and gender-based injustices in my communities. From a young age, I have been interested in drawing and understanding people’s stories. In my sophomore year, these interests converged. I began painting portraits of Black women that bring their stories to life while pushing back against racist and sexist frameworks. The portraits emanate love and positive energy and highlight the women’s beauty. The portraits reflect who I am: Someone who does not let other people’s opinions stop them from fighting for what is right.
I spoke about the impact art can have during my TEDx Talk at Towson University in Fall 2022. The talk focused on teaching art as a therapeutic technique with the goal of building resilience and improving mental health outcomes. As an aspiring family therapist, specializing in art therapy, this message is incredibly important to me.
In addition to art, I also seek other opportunities to help marginalized populations to process trauma. For example, working as a resident assistant, I came across an instance of hate speech. My passion for justice propelled me to lead response efforts to ensure that residents and peers feel comfortable and safe where they live and work. In partnership with Housing and Residence Life, I established procedures, such as frequent mental health check-ins, to better support staff of color when incidents of hate speech arise.
As a Transform Mid-Atlantic Civic Fellow, I look forward to joining like-minded students to expand my leadership skills and knowledge, so that I can further transform into an active co-creator of a shared, just, and equitable future.
2023-2024 Transform Mid-Atlantic Civic Fellow