Equitech Tuesday #154: Art, Intention, Justice

Baltimore Tech Community,

For those whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting, I’m Isaiah Pittman, UpSurge Baltimore’s Market Research Intern!

Last week I celebrated a trip around the sun working with UpSurge Baltimore and I can’t believe all that’s been accomplished in 365 days. In the past year, I’ve assisted UpSurge in numerous projects: developing our website (including our Equitech Tuesday, UpRise Masterclass, Impact Update and Ecosystem Report pages); marketing April’s Inaugural Annual Meeting; strategizing and creating content for our social media; researching the goings-on in our peer ecosystems like Pittsburgh and Detroit; and tons more!

I found out about UpSurge’s Market Research Internship upon completing my Masters’ at University of Baltimore in Interaction Design and Information Architecture. While my background in UX Research might seem a little different from the day-to-day work at UpSurge, gathering insights on the needs of users [or in UpSurge’s case, founders] for our strategic communication is fundamental to everything I do. 

While the work I do at UpSurge gets quite technical, what gets me up and moves me to do this work is UpSurge’s passion for representing the underrepresented. In March, I had the honor of introducing our Governor Wes Moore at the World Trade Center Institute‘s Global Leadership Awards, where I echoed his powerful statement; “In order for it to be Maryland’s decade, it must first be Baltimore’s time.” As a queer, Black, life-long Baltimorean in tech, it’s been a privilege being a part of what makes the Baltimore ecosystem’s future so bright. 

This Wednesday, we’re all coming together to observe and celebrate Juneteenth! Declared a federal holiday in 2021 under the Biden Administration, Juneteenth represents a landmark in the American history book when Black and Indigenous peoples learned of their emancipation from slavery. As “America’s Second Independence Day” approaches and celebrations ensue, it remains a profound reminder of our continuing fight for racial equity. 

In the spirit of this crucial time of remembrance, we’re putting art, intention and justice at the forefront of Equitech Tuesday.



Our city’s art community never shies away from the social and political realities of our time and Maryland Art Place’s current exhibit, Invisible Architectures | Social Contracts, is no different. This collection – developed by Directors of the COFAC CoLab: Dr. Kalima Young and Ada Pinkston – explores the impact of geographic, economic, social, and institutional structures on personal relationships.

We’ll additionally be partnering with the Black Butterfly Network (BBN), the movers and shakers working to connect and unlock the power of Baltimore’s Black business community! BBN derives their name from the local colloquialisms: the ‘Black Butterfly’ and the ‘White L,’ the shapes depicted by Baltimore’s racial segregation. While Baltimore boasts a large, diverse population, the racist systems instituted yesterday leave undeniable traces today. 



As we commemorate Juneteenth, our commitment to dismantling these intrinsic systems of oppression that continue to hold Black and Brown people back cannot waver. Equitech Tuesday is happening on June 18th, from 6-8 PM, at Maryland Art Place – we hope that you will join us for some art, networking, and celebration of the individuals and organizations pushing for real, positive change! 

But that’s not all! UpSurge has another awesome UpRise Masterclass taking place beforehand: Fireside Chat with Exited MedTech FounderKelvin Liu of Circulomics. He’s a founder with a wealth of advice for MedTech and BioTech startups! Listen in on this session from 4:00-6:00 PM before you join us at Equitech Tuesday! It’s going to be a powerful evening, and we can’t wait to see you there.



Happy Juneteenth,

Benjamin “Isaiah” Pittman, M.S.

Market Research Intern

UpSurge Baltimore

P.S. If you’re still looking for more founder fun, register for the NoPixAfterDark Live podcast interview with founder of Slutty Vegan, Pinky Cole, coming up on July 10th! Use code “UpSurge” for $10 off tickets!