Brittany Young of B-360: “We All Need Positive Outlets in a Very Stressed City”

Dirt bike culture is a part of Baltimore. The question is whether it can thrive in the city without generating conflict.

Brittany Young thinks so, or is at least working toward that goal. She’s the founder of B-360, which stands for “Be the revolution.” The revolution is a fundamental change in people’s mindset toward dirt bikes and the people who ride them.

“We all need a positive outlet in a very stressed city,” she told me.

But wait a second: Aren’t dirt bikes disruptive? Aren’t they dangerous? Aren’t they illegal? Haven’t people been killed, both on the bikes and in their pathways?

I’ve heard people in Baltimore defend street riding, or at least romanticize it while they acknowledge the danger. But not Brittany. She said B-360 and the Baltimore Police Department have the same goal: zero dirt bike riders on the street.

Instead of cracking down on riders with a police task force, though, B-360 tries to steer them toward spaces where they can express themselves and relieve stress without posing a danger to themselves or others.

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After repairing their bikes, B-360 students learn how to ride safely out of traffic in preparation for their showcase.

More than that, B-360 uses dirt biking as a launching point toward education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Moving from the pavement to the classroom, popping a wheelie can be framed as a math equation. A fascination with dirt bike design can be used to learn 3D drawing and printing. Repairing dirt bikes can be translated into practical job skills. Brittany uses the intersection between dirt biking and STEM education to show young people – especially young black people – how smart they already are.

This aspect of Brittany’s work has been well documented, and is worth your time to look into. There’s this article in The Baltimore Sun, for example. And this one in Forbes. And this one in Vice. You’ll also find several videos on the B-360 website that focus on STEM education programming.

For this story, I want to focus on dirt biking in Baltimore.

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Jeff Thompson of HEBCAC: “There Just Is an Amazing Amount of Resilience” in East Baltimore

Read the follow-up to this story here.

I was trying to nail down the scope of what the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition (HEBCAC) does when I asked Deputy Directory Jeff Thompson if he saw the organization primarily as filling people’s needs or acting as an agent of change.

He didn’t think much of my distinction.

“We are agents of change,” he told me, “because we help people transform their lives.”

That is to say, helping East Baltimore residents beat addiction, secure housing and find work does fill needs. But it does much more that. It enables people to unlock their potential and become assets in their community.

HEBCAC was originally conceived in the 1990s as an umbrella group, encompassing 11 East Baltimore neighborhoods (and their neighborhood associations) stretching from the Hopkins East Baltimore campus to the borders of Baltimore Cemetery.


As funding sources and the city’s development priorities have changed over the years, HEBCAC’s role in the community has evolved. Relationships with local associations have become less formal, and the organization now focuses on providing social services and community development within its service area.

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