Mark Heishman, the General Manager at Transdev (formally Veolia), invited me and a couple youth leaders to present to the operators of the Charm City Circulator. We were asked to present at two of their safety meetings, one at noon and one at three pm. I had another presentation at noon so Brooke stood in for me at the first presentation. I met Diamond, Adrian, Brooke and Mark after the first presentation and before the second while they were finishing up lunch. I was eager to hear how the first presentation went. By the looks on their faces, there was a lot to talk about. The following is an account written by Adrian about the presentation. What stands out to me about Adrian’s commentary is the respect he has for Diamond in how she handles a tough situation.
“This afternoon I had the pleasure of giving a presentation with one of my fellow Youth Executive Leaders, Diamond Sampson. We were presenting to the Circulator bus operators to introduce them to our project and the work we were doing. We talked about the history of the organization, our research and our current initiatives. After our presentation, we opened up the floor for comments, questions and concerns. During the Q&A, one bus operator vented his frustration about youth to us. He confronted me and Diamond and asked us what we were doing besides passing out buttons. He went on stereotyping about youth on his bus, saying that all youth are poorly behaved. I wanted to tell him to try paying attention to how many youth are actually doing what they’re supposed to do instead of only paying attention to the negative youth. Before I could, Diamond became emotional. Anyone that knows Diamond, knows that this is a sore subject for her. She joined the Inner Harbor Project because she was tired of being blamed for the negative behavior of other youth. Diamond was visibly upset but also calm. She let this man know that all youth are not the same and that regardless of our age we are no different than adults who also have bad apples so to speak. After she spoke this man completely changed his opinion. He apologized and thanked us for our work. We youth at the IHP are very passionate about what we do and it showed today.”