My name is martaze gaines
Facilitator and consultant and
Urban farmer and cultural organizer and
Over the past decade, my passion for community-centered organizing and action has led me to champion various social causes and advocate for those at the margins of society. My expertise lies in teaching and promoting concepts such as abolition of the prison-industrial complex, community psychology, and land sovereignty through popular education models. My work is deeply influenced by the frameworks of Black Queer Theory and the Black Radical Tradition, which have allowed me to refine my skills and gain valuable experiences across grassroots campaigns in cities like Baltimore, Atlanta, and Nashville. My involvement in diverse initiatives has spanned critical areas, including housing and rent fights, police accountability, environmental organizing, college-based activism, bail fights, and supporting the clemency of Cyntoia Brown Lang. In Baltimore, I remain active in organizing efforts, facilitating political education sessions, devising effective strategies, spearheading grassroots campaigns, and providing support and training for direct action. I am dedicated to empowering marginalized communities and fostering positive social change.
One of my primary endeavors as an Independent Consultant has been with national partner Race Forward, where I've been working since 2020 to facilitate public and client-based racial justice training with a team of consultants. My efforts span across a wide range of organizations, including philanthropic, government, academic, for-profit, and non-profit communities. Additionally, I specialize in developing client-specific equity training for grassroots organizations and small nonprofits, empowering them to advance campaigns and foster greater equity in their operations. In August 2020, I took on the role of inaugural project coordinator for "24 and None," a groundbreaking grassroots organizer incubator that focused on empowering youth (ages 14-25) who have had involvement with the criminal legal system.
My educational journey includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Morehouse College in 2018 and a Master of Education in Community Development and Action from Vanderbilt University in 2020. Throughout my academic career, I've gained valuable insights and transferable skills from various roles, enriching my understanding of different aspects of our social experience. As a research assistant at Peabody College for the AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC) - Southeast Region, I played a vital role in evaluating the effectiveness of a program designed to support healthcare professionals providing health care for individuals living with HIV. My tenure as an Intern Consultant with Younge Consulting further honed my skills while contributing to projects involving a departmental merger at an international human rights organization and an evaluation of an academic equity program at a University System. Additionally, I served as a site director for a shelter providing crucial support for LGBTQ youth (ages 18-25) in Nashville, offering lodging, food, and access to essential social services.
My dedication and impact in the community have been recognized through various accolades, awards, and personal testimonies from peers, colleagues, and clients throughout my academic journey and organizing career, affirming the significance of my community work and advocacy efforts. As I continue my mission, I am driven by a profound passion to create a Baltimore that is equitably resourced, empowering long-term and young Black residents to nurture themselves and their families. To this end, I am also excited to embark on a new venture called "Grow410," a social enterprise that will feature an urban farm, apothecary, and a space for workshops, events, and group meetings—further strengthening my commitment to fostering growth, sustainability, and empowerment within the community.