Rikki Spector turns misfortune into inspiration
December 20, 2017
Baltimore Jewish Times
By Susan C. Ingram
RIKKI SPECTOR WITH YOUTHS FROM UEMPOWER PROGRAMS; MELVIN WILLINGHAM, FOUNDER OF MAKINGS OF A MAN MALE YOUTH INITIATIVE; AND KRISTINA PAGE, UEMPOWER DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES. (KELSEY MARDEN PHOTO)
“Shavua tov! Shavua tov!” former Baltimore City Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector told guests arriving at a recent Northwest Citizen’s Patrol banquet.
“You don’t have a black eye this year!” one guest said to Spector.
“I’m not getting any more,” Spector replied with her signature smile and easy laugh.
“I’m glad to see you.” “How are you?” “Hello there!” “Glad to have you back!”
And the heartfelt greetings kept coming, a testament to Spector’s 40-year tenure as councilwoman for District 5 and the high regard with which she is held in her community.
Spector was attending the event to update the community on what she’s been up to for the past year since two young teens jumped her in a parking garage and tried to steal her car. The attempt was foiled because Spector had the electronic fob needed to open the exit gate. Battered and shaken, her eyes blackened, Spector yelled for help, and two employees came quickly to her aid, catching one of the fleeing teens, a 15-year-old, in the process. The second teen, 13, was arrested two days later.
The story of the 81-year-old Spector’s odyssey over the past year follows a path even she may have not expected: helping those two young men — the very same who attacked her — to refocus their lives and the lives of other young Baltimore residents away from trouble on the street and onto more positive and productive paths.