Its been a powerful day of revelation here in Baltimore. Just like you, over the past 24 hours I’ve heard Black people of this city described in the media as thugs, criminals and animals. The bad actions of a few should never apply to the majority of the many. Isn’t that what we are always told about the police..?
Speaking of which several of the folks in the community I spoke with today informed me that many of those officers in riot gear are the same people that come to the community late at night wearing street clothes to purchase drugs and solicit prostitutes. They ask why isn’t that spoken about in the media..?
Last night 144 car fires and 15 burned structures demonstrated displaced anger from young people who have had to nurture for too long a prolonged sense of hopelessness for their lives. The people in the community are not happy about being demonized in the media over the last 24 hours when they have had to endure the demonization of living in an impoverished neighborhood that has not received any meaningful and serious corporate or government investment in over 24 years.
A community where over 52 percent of Black men are unemployed. A neighborhood where over 100,000 Black men were arrested in ‘2003 – 2005 under the Mayoral-ship of Martin “I wanna be president” O’Malley. Keep in mind only seven percent of those arrests were for serious crimes.
A neighborhood where the annual salary is $16,000 a year. A community where 116,000 children qualify for free school lunch that for many of them is the only nutritious meal of the day. A community where incidents of domestic violence ranks among the highest of all cities in America.
All of this taking place within walking distance of the multi billion dollar institution of John Hopkins University. A neighborhood where gentrification is slowly pushing them further and further down the road. There are problems here not unlike any other major city. The real tragedy is that it takes a tragedy in the loss of life of a Freddie Gray or a Michael Brown to bring light not only to the issue of continued police brutality and racial profiling, but the human right violations of systemic and generational poverty existing in communities across this country.
The healing is slow and bringing about change is always difficult, but only an indictment at the end of this week against those officers that killed Freddie Gray will help to close the gash of injustice the vast majorities of police killings have historically rendered. Let Justice Be Done. #PrayForBaltimore #justiceforfreddiegray #AllLivesMatter