I love Baltimore. It’s a beautiful city that I had the pleasure of working in for several years, and I’ve had family who lived there my whole life. There’s amazing restaurants, live performance venues, museums, a beautiful waterfront and an absolutely world-class aquarium. But it’s also a city that has famously struggled with crippling poverty and high crime rates for a long time. This week, the anger over ongoing police misconduct boiled over and we all saw the images of stores and cars burning, and young people throwing rocks.
Hopefully you also saw all the photos of people out the next day cleaning up, and of the peaceful protestors, the community members who brought food to the cops and national guardsmen in their neighborhoods, and the volunteers who spontaneously organized free lunches for the children who couldn’t get their free lunch when schools were closed. There’s been amazing shows of support and community happening in Baltimore and across the country, and I hope that more people see the many good people working for justice and remember their passion and conviction that change needs to happen before more people suffer.
The fact that the officers involved in the death of Freddy Gray have been charged and will face trial is a satisfying result. But the sad truth is that Baltimore will need this kind of support and attention long after this case and the associated protests are over, and given how the US news cycle works it’s easy to forget that problems aren’t solved just because you don’t see them on TV anymore. If you want to help Baltimore, today, tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, whenever, here is a list of organizations who are working to help people living and working in Baltimore. If you know of any others, please feel free to mention them in the comments.
And for those of you in the area, I also hear that local businesses in Baltimore are suffering. Fear of violent outbursts, as well as strict curfews, are causing a huge decline in business in local bars, restaurants, and stores. If you can, and feel comfortable doing so, please try and support a local favorite this weekend. I’ll be in the area, so I’m planning on doing so myself. There are also several more rallies planned over the weekend if you want to attend.
The Inner Harbor Project, suggested by AbbySaurus, which works to empower teen leaders with the research and professional skills to tackle social issues in the community.