Mark is an active community leader, civic-minded attorney, educator and organizer. His passion for service and commitment to inclusive policies that strengthen our collective spirit and success is rooted in his formative experiences as a foreign-born immigrant to the U.S. The resilience, grit, and fortitude modeled to him by his family – intent on providing every opportunity to succeed despite the struggle and sacrifice this often required on their part, ingrained in Mark a great sense of purpose, duty, and responsibility.
While his dogged work ethic and persistence allowed Mark to accomplish many of his parents’ greatest wishes for his future, he knows intimately that nothing would have been possible without the privilege of opportunity, support, and mentorship he received every step along the way. His late mother’s guiding principle: “If you can, you must,” drives Mark today in his vision and work to ensure that every resident of this city he loves – Baltimore City – has the same opportunity, hope, and experience that lifted his family from their hardships and guided Mark’s belief that anything is possible.
"There is much we can accomplish together to better connect our neighborhoods, provide equal opportunity for every Baltimorean, and ensure our city is a desirable and sustainable place to live, work and operate a business. And there are no better or stronger partners in this work than the residents of the 46th District. I look forward to serving our diverse, dynamic, and resilient communities in the General Assembly."
More about Mark
Proven Community Leader
- Mark is focused on improving the lives of his neighbors and sustainably growing his community.
- Since 2018, he has served as the President of the Canton Community Association (CCA), the largest community association in Baltimore City. During his tenure, Mark coordinated the launch of the Canton Farmers Market and has led efforts to improve lighting and safety efforts in O’Donnell Square and throughout the community.
- Recently, Mark brought together a diverse group of community members, historians, elected officials, and anti-racism advocates to create the Canton anti-Racism Alliance. As a result of many community conversations, the Alliance recently wrote to Mayor Brandon Scott, supported by local and state elected officials, calling for the removal of the statue of Captain John O’Donnell.
- Mark has overseen significant community initiatives like Light Night Canton, First Thursdays, Third Fridays in the Square, “Get Lit Canton,” and hosted the CCA 2020 Mayoral Forum that was attended by over 400 community members.
- Working with the CCA, he has led countless local and state advocacy and legislative efforts on behalf of the community.
- As an elected Member of the Democratic State Central Committee for District 46 since 2018 and current Vice Chair, Mark has amplified voter engagement efforts and grassroots organizing across the district.
- Mark utilizes his legal background to advocate for key community priorities and represent individuals and small businesses in need.
- In his first major case after graduating from law school, Mark successfully represented the victims of lead-paint poisoning against the Housing Authority of Baltimore City and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- In 2017, Mark scored another landmark victory on behalf of the community. Working with the leadership of Bikemore and a team of lawyers and transit advocates, he successfully argued a Temporary Restraining Order against the City of Baltimore and then-Mayor Pugh, preventing the planned demolition of a protected bike lane on Potomac Street in Canton that serves numerous communities throughout Southeast Baltimore.
- It is estimated that more than 30% of Baltimoreans lack access to a car or personal vehicle. In some of the most disadvantaged areas of the city, this number is over 70%. To effectively and equitably enhance mobility across Baltimore, he has advocated for safe and connected bike facilities like the Potomac Street Cycle Track, which are the key to improving outcomes for all residents.
- When the Administration advanced its plan to to remove the protected bicycle facility, citing an obscure and rarely enforced provision of the fire code, Mark served as lead counsel, achieving an unprecedented victory in the Circuit Court that halted demolition of the cycle track, ensuring that all communities in Patterson Park, Highlandtown, McElderry Park and Canton would have safe access to the Downtown Bike Network.
An Immigrant Who Chose Baltimore
- Like many of Baltimore’s early European immigrants that traveled through the Fells Points’ recreation pier, Mark made his home in – and gave his heart to – Southeast Baltimore.
- Born in South Africa, Mark’s family, like so many other immigrant families, came to America in search of a better life and future. Mark’s family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, attracted to the area’s large South African Jewish community and the support of family ties.
- Early life in America was extremely challenging and stressful for the Edelson family. Social isolation and financial pressures were a daily battle. Economic insecurity would torment Mark’s family for decades to come, and he began working at age fifteen to help support the household’s financial security. He struggled to fit into high school in his new home, with classmates and even teachers laughing at his accent, his religion, and sometimes even what he brought to school for lunch.
- Mark persevered and worked his way through college. Thanks to the Hope Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship supporting students in public education, and the emotional support of family and friends, Mark graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State University in 2007.
- Believing that a career in the law would allow him to eventually advocate for marginalized and oftentimes voiceless communities, Mark moved to Baltimore in the summer of 2007 to complete his studies at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School Law School, where he graduated cum laude.
- America’s immigration story is one filled with hope and also struggle. His childhood imprinted upon him the value of hard work and the importance of supporting the community and neighbors through difficult times. Many immigrant families in Baltimore face the same struggle – how to survive amidst daunting financial pressures in communities that may at times be less-than-welcoming to neighbors who live, worship or speak differently than they do.
- Mark’s experiences as an immigrant inform and drive his commitment to public service and his decision to run for State Delegate
- Mark serves as an adjunct professor at Goucher College, where he teaches a pre-law undergraduate course on the intersection of law and society.
- He challenges his students to think critically about the construction, evolution and impacts of our cultural norms and values and how the trajectory of society and major events in history have impacted the laws and customs we follow today.
Working for Baltimore Every Day
- Mark is committed to empowering Baltimore’s civic organizations, communities, and nonprofits that offer invaluable services and connections for the residents they serve.
- Mark actively serves on the Board of Directors for Transit Choices, The Baltimore Transit Campaign, The Associated Jewish Federation of Baltimore, the Baltimore Jewish Council, the American Marketing Association – Baltimore Chapter, and The University of Maryland School of Law National Trial Team Alumni Leadership Council.
- He also volunteered for a number of years at the Kids Safe Zone in West Baltimore as a mentor to at-risk youth and assisted in providing after-school resources.
- Mark is a Canton homeowner, where he lives with his fiancée Shaina and their cat Boots.
- If elected, he will be just the fourth foreign-born immigrant serving in the Maryland House of Delegates.
- Mark is an active member of Volo City Sports where he plays on a local soccer team.
- Mark was the lead singer of an indie-rock band in high school. While he will never stop dreaming of a music career, he knows his voice – literally and figuratively – will better serve others in the practice of law and public service.