The Sun will announce its choice for 2022 Marylander of the Year on Wednesday, Dec. 28, chosen from three finalists revealed last week: the Baltimore Orioles, for defying the odds to end the season with a near-playoff finish and lift our spirits; Maryland voters for breaking multiple glass ceilings in November by electing the state’s first African American governor, first Asian American lieutenant governor, first woman to independent statewide office (comptroller), and first African American attorney general; and the hundreds of Catholic sexual abuse survivors and their advocates who came forward to chronicle the horrific circumstances they faced in Maryland going back 80 years, enabling a 456-page investigative report we pray will soon be made public and lead to greater accountability within the Church and some measure of justice.
Several other individuals and organizations also contributed significantly to making Maryland a better place this year and deserve recognition for their outstanding efforts. And so, we present the 2022 Marylander of the Year Honorable Mentions, in no particular order:
At a time when election results were being scrutinized in states throughout the country from those on the right embracing QAnon conspiracy theories and Donald Trump’s claims of a stolen presidency in 2020, Maryland’s hardworking election judges ensured a smooth process during November’s mid-term elections. Hundreds of people stepped up, many for the first time, to fill judicial vacancies and work a 13-hour day to ensure a fair and just process that allowed for the peaceful transfer of power.
Whiting Turner CEO Tim Regan invested $1 million of his own money to acquire the shuttered Target site at Mondawmin Mall in Baltimore and is in the process of, with additional investment, transforming it into a community hub for local entrepreneurs and groups offering job training, tutoring and mentoring. Among Regan’s goals is for the investment to spill over into the surrounding mall and neighborhood, which never reaped the rewards that Target promised to bring when it opened there in 2008.
She might represent California in the House of Representatives, but Nancy Pelosi is a Baltimorean through and through, born and raised here and descended from Baltimore’s political royalty: the D’Alesandro family. The first female Speaker of the House is ending her tenure next month, having arguably moved more substantial legislation through the House in her two terms in the role than any other speaker in recent memory, including the Affordable Care Act, the American Rescue Plan and the Build Back Better Act. And she did it with grace and style, making Bawlmer proud.
John Mather, a senior astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, has spent nearly 30 years working on the James Webb Space Telescope mission, most recently as the senior project scientist. The telescope was built under his leadership, and this summer, its first images were returned, opening a window to the cosmos. Mather recently announced plans to take on emeritus status, but his work will continue to inspire as the Webb Telescope, launched last December and controlled from Baltimore’s Space Telescope Science Institute on the Johns Hopkins University campus, deepens our understanding of the universe.
Baltimore Police Homicide Department’s survivor advocates
This small group of social workers reaches out to Baltimore’s far too many shooting victims and the family members of those killed in the city to offer comfort and access to available resources provided by area aid organizations, including support groups, groceries and burial costs. One day they might help a grandparent who’s lost a child to homicide and is now charged with caring for their grandchildren; the next, they might be making a hospital visit to a survivor to help them prepare for their future. Their work is heartbreaking and absolutely critical.
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