The Guardians is a photo documentary & storytelling project including photo portraits, large scale banners and digital archives that celebrate unrecognized Black female leaders across Baltimore City neighborhoods. This project provides a platform for women who spend their lives fighting for a better, more equitable Baltimore.
Whitney Frazier, WGF Studio, Creative Director & Public Artist
Kirby Griffin, Photographer
We must make visible the tireless efforts and amazing accomplishments of Baltimore’s Black female leaders. The Guardians are the backbones of their neighborhoods. They are the eyes and ears keeping people safe. They don’t take no for an answer. They raise our future leaders. They are reshaping history. They deserve to be recognized and celebrated.
We began this project by working with women leaders who I have collaborated with over my 18 years as a community artist living and working in Baltimore. Additional participants were recommended by my colleague, Gwen Brown, former organizer with BUILD and current Community Engagement Coordinator at Behavioral Health System Baltimore (BHSB). The Guardians meet some or all of the following; Identify as Black and Female; have a leadership role in under-resourced neighborhoods in Baltimore City; serve as neighborhood association leaders/presidents or non-neighborhood Association activists/leaders/"next generation” leadership; Advocate for resources for their community; Grew up in the surrounding neighborhood; Actively participate in community initiatives; Exude the following traits: Visionary, Unwavering, Determined, Strong, Accomplished.
Antionette Mugar, Harlem Park West
Audrey Carter, East Oliver
Cherring Spence, Park Lane
Dorothy Cunningham, Irvington
Gwen Brown, Govans
Joy Ross, Harlem Park West
Pauline Charles, Darley Park
Samiriah Franklin, West Baltimore
Sharon Snow, Cylburn
Sheree Briscoe, Deputy Commissioner, Mt. Washington
Tayler Mugar, Harlem Park West
Terrye Moore, Park Heights (NW)
Yeshiyah Israel, Pimlico/Park Heights