Inspiring Voices 2019 is CLIA’s annual fundraising/networking event                              celebrating our work and honoring people making positive change in our      community! This year, ticket sales and donations will be going toward our          SUMMER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE. This summer program offers high school juniors    and seniors the opportunity to learn about civic engagement, problem solving,

  critical thinking, advocacy, and more. 

 We are proud to spotlight the young people we serve, and people in our         community whose talent, hard work and dedication to excellence inspire all of us   to follow their lead. They are inspirational, and we hope you will join us as we     honor them. 

This year’s Inspiring Voices are:





    The actual festivities begin at noon, but join us at 11:00 a.m. to network and to          check out the items available at our silent auction.

    We look forward to seeing you on May 14th!

    If you are unable to attend Inspiring Voices, consider a donation to our SUMMER        LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE. Click here for details.

Valencia D. Clay is a writer and an 8th grade teacher at The Design School in Baltimore. To call her a teacher doesn’t begin to cover all the things that she is and that she does in the classroom. The activism she brings to teaching, her passion for knowledge and learning, and her ability to translate her experiences, her education, her self-awareness, and her natural talents to success in the classroom make her a force of nature. She advises educators to “teach from your heart”, which is exactly what she does. Her chronicles of her work in the classroom that she shares on social media have caught the attention of the likes of Halle Berry and Jada Pinkett-Smith. And her writing topics, which range from pedagogy to poetry, demonstrate just as much passion, awareness and talent as she does in the classroom. Ms. Clay was born in Harlem U.S.A. and was raised by her grandmother in Westchester, New York. She always knew she wanted to teach from the time she was a young child, and majored in Elementary Education at Morgan State University. Learn more about her and her work at

Kondwani Fidel and his poetry have become one and the same. The passion Fidel brings to his work has taken the Baltimore native around the globe to confront education reform, civil rights, and growing up in an underserved community. Fidel has captivated audiences at conferences, literary events, and has lectured and taught classes at the University of East London while touring in the United Kingdom. Fidel’s lyrical poetry has been featured in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, CNN, The Root, The Independent, Mic, Baltimore Magazine, and Baltimore Sun. His viral essay, “How a Young Boy has Been Decaying in Baltimore Since Age 10: A Death Note”, cemented Fidel as an authority in his city. In 2018, The Baltimore Sun honored Fidel in its heralded ‘Best of Baltimore’ issue for his courage, innovative thinking, and leadership in local schools and communities. Fidel is the author of his published collections, Hummingbirds in the Trenches (2018), and Raw Wounds (2017). Fidel’s work has been praised by literary and civil rights giants such as Ibram X. Kendi, Eve L. Ewing, and DeRay McKesson. Fidel is an M.F.A. candidate in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore. Fidel was most recently been honored for his work with Baltimore’s Civil Rights Literary Award. Learn more about him and his work at

Alicia Wilson is the Senior Vice President of Impact Investments and Senior Legal Counsel to the Port Covington Development Team. Wilson is responsible for shaping, advancing and promoting the interests of the investors in the Port Covington Development Project by developing strategic initiatives that enhance its philanthropic and investment impact.  She is also responsible for cultivating and building key stakeholder relationships and collaborative relationships regionally, nationally and internationally for the Port Covington Development Team. During the 2016 Baltimore City Council legislative session, Wilson drafted key pieces of legislation and served as the principal negotiator of the two largest Community Benefit Agreements in the history of Baltimore associated with the passage of a $660 million public financing project.  The negotiations of the community benefit agreements involved over 200 stakeholder groups representing tens of thousands of residents from across the City of Baltimore.  Wilson now oversees a team charged with implementing the letter and spirit of the community benefits agreements focused on workforce development, supplier diversity, and inclusionary housing, and youth enrichment matters. Wilson is actively involved in civic and charitable organizations.  She currently serves as Chair of the CollegeBound Foundation, on the board of the Center for Urban Families, the University of Maryland Foundation at Baltimore, Associated Black Charities, the University of Maryland School of Law Board of Visitors, Baltimore Corps, the National Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program, and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Our keynote speaker is three-time author and youth advocate Kevin Shird.

2018 Honorees

Raquel Whiting Gilmer
BSO OrchKids

Brittany Young
Alphonso Mayo
Mentoring Mentors
Koli Tengella
Augusta Fells Savage Institute for Visual Arts High School
The Baltimore Ceasefire Movement

2017 Honorees

Fagan Harris

CEO, Baltimore Corps

Laurie Latuda Kinkel

Program Officer, Goldseker Foundation

Rashad Staton

Program Assistant, Youth Initiatives and Collaboration, Family League of Baltimore

Leslie Wright

Director of City Programs, Citizenship Law Related Education Program

2016 Honorees

Katie Allston, LCSW-C

Executive Director, Marian House

Anthony Ashton, Esq.

Partner, DLA Piper LLP

LaMar Davis

Director, The Choice Program at UMBC

 David Flores

Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, Blue Water Baltimore

 Laura Garcia, MS, FNP

Nurse Practitioner, Healthcare for the Homeless

 Jon Hokenmaier

Law Teacher, Reginald F. Lewis High School

John Phelps

President, Carroll Independent Fuel Company/Highs of Baltimore LLC

 Randi Alper Pupkin

Founder and CEO, Art with a Heart

2015 Honorees

Sam Abed

Secretary of the Department of Juvenile Services

 Andrew Bertamini

Regional President of Wells Fargo Maryland Region

Jesus Eusebio-Perez

Project Connect at the Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health

Thibault Manekin

Co-Founder of Seawall Development

Luisella McBride

Partner, Abramoff Neuberger LLP

Summer Seal

Program Director for the Girls Empowerment Mission (GEM), Living Classrooms Foundation

Charles “Choo” Smith

Founder, Choo Youth Empowerment

Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School

Find out how CLIA's 2017 Inspiring Voices honorees are transforming Baltimore City.