The University’s Hopkins Local initiative, a program that commits Hopkins to supporting local and minority-owned businesses, was introduced in September 2015. A new progress report released March 9 details future plans to expand the program and reiterate the University’s mission.
The Editorial Board commends the University’s dedication to buying from Baltimore businesses. We recognize the importance of stimulating local economic growth in our city, whose precarious economic situation is apparent to all who call Baltimore home. Considering that the the average black household wealth is only 6 percent of the average white household’s, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, patronizing minority-owned businesses will help close the wealth gap.
Hopkins has a disproportionate amount of power in Baltimore and a significant ability to effect change here. If we want a Baltimore where local businesses hire local workers to serve the local community, the University must lead by example.
Hopkins has consistently stated its commitment to Baltimore. University President Ronald. J. Daniels’ message over the last few years has been that “As goes Baltimore, so goes Hopkins.”
This Hopkins Local progress report provides an important opportunity to prove that commitment to our city.
We encourage the University to use this local “build, hire and buy” initiative to implement real change instead of simply using it as a branding campaign. It is important for the University to show the community that it is investing and hiring locally.
It is equally important that Hopkins encourages students to buy local and support their community. As students on the Homewood campus, we often forget that we are a part of the larger Baltimore community; we’re comfortable inside the Hopkins bubble. But one of the easiest ways for students to contribute to the community is by supporting local, minority-owned businesses beyond campus.
The Editorial Board asks students to patronize local businesses in Charles Village and especially in the rest of the city. The measures taken by the University are a commendable first step, but there is a lot more that Hopkins and its community is capable of doing to make a tangible difference in Baltimore.