I am a proud and native Marylander who happens to be Nigerian-American. The United States has 50 states and Maryland is one of those states. I will never eat anything that has crab in it outside of the State of Maryland. It is impossible and I do not apologize for that. I can say as someone who has lived, worked, attended school and church in Baltimore, I can speak from firsthand experience. My experience is not based on a tv show or something I read in a book. If you have never been to Baltimore, I would highly recommend you visit so you can see why I call this place home. Remember, there is nothing like firsthand experience.
I know Baltimore is known for a lot of negative things but the positives largely outweigh those things. We have a lot of diverse neighborhoods and people who live here. Our cuisine is one of a kind. We are strong and resilient. You may have heard of Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Hospital and The National Aquarium which are all here. The Orioles have not won the World Series since the early 1980’s but as a city, we still support them. When I was kid, I wondered why we did not have our own NFL team. When I was older, I heard the story. It took 13 years before the Baltimore Ravens came to town. Decades later, on Fridays during the NFL season, it is awesome to see everyone in their purple and black. We have also won two super bowls.
The Star-Spangled Banner was written at Fort McHenry which is in Baltimore. The most decorated Olympian in history, Michael Phelps, calls Baltimore home. Artscape, the largest art festival on the east coast, is held in Baltimore. Ed Reed, is about to be enshrined into the NFL’s hall of fame this weekend. He will be the third Baltimore Raven to be enshrined. When I was a kid, I thought the State of Maryland was so big. Now decades later and after traveling domestically and internationally, I can say that Maryland is a segment of the world. Every city and town has its own personality. There is no city or town that is perfect.
Be proud of where you were born or call home. There is no perfect place but all of us come from unique places on purpose. There absolutely no place like home. I just returned from an international conference. I was sitting with fellow Baltimoreans. They made my flight fun and we looked out for one another. We made sure we each had our bags before we departed our separate ways. That is the Baltimore way. We look out for one another and have each other’s backs no matter what. I enjoyed my trip and thank God for it. What was one of my highlights? When the pilot told us we were approaching BWI/Thurgood Marshall Airport and said, “Welcome to Baltimore!”