Sharayna Ashanti Christmas founded New Generation Scholars, a program aimed at empowering young people in Baltimore City through education and experiences, in 2007. 

“​​It was started to kind of explore Black diasporic history, through study abroad travel and the arts,” she said. “Young people pretty much work through the program through a series of workshops and courses and dialogue and restorative practices, to gain not only leadership skills, but also to become these emerging artists, and thinkers.”  

They have traveled to 11 countries, produced a zine titled Lor Radicals, and worked with well-known Black historians and scholars.

The program has initially been open to people in their teens and pre-teens. Now, Christmas says, she is launching a new initiative that will focus on people ages 18-22, with even more focus on archival work. 

“How to use archives, how to take the history, how to chart their past and create new works in conversation with some of the research that they develop,” Christmas said, describing the program. “So for example, one of the areas that we’re going to be focusing on is the history of Black women culture workers in Baltimore.” 

Christmas and the rest of the team at New Generation Scholars will begin accepting applications for this program on December 15. Find out more at or by emailing (Lisa Snowden-McCray)

Sharayna Ashanti Christmas and program participants. Credit: Kyle Pompey