For years, the prevailing narrative that came to define Baltimore in the media was wholly incomplete. Much of what was portrayed was depictions of neighborhoods that bore the brunt of the industrial collapse. What was missing were the stories of people living in great neighborhoods, amongst great neighbors, and wouldn’t think of living anywhere else.
It seemed as though few people outside of the city knew anything about the breathtaking architecture, the vibrant culture churning in the city’s center, or the gorgeous homes nestled just north of downtown. There were thousands of people who loved and championed Baltimore, but their voices weren’t being heard. It was this dilemma that inspired a freelance marketing consultant to take action.
In 1998, Carolyn O’Keefe decided that it was time for the people who loved their city to express their affection openly, and thus was born the bright yellow “I love city life”bumper sticker. So taken with the notion of creating a movement around the slogan, Carolyn’s husband, Kevin O’Keefe, joined the effort and together they printed 3,000 stickers and distributed them to like minded city-folk. They spread like wildfire and the rest was, as they say, history.
These days you can hardly go a block or two without seeing “I love city life” displayed by folks who are proud to call Baltimore home. The message is about being proud of your city and affecting how the world perceives it. It’s about not apologizing for our shortcomings, but finding ways to overcome them. But mostly, it’s about making a commitment to being a good neighbor and steward of the communities in which we reside.