I went to Baltimore following the recent outcry regarding the death of Freddy Gray at the hands of the Baltimore police. The city was officially in a state of emergency, the National Guard, guns slung across their backs standing bored, leaning on the big armed humvees along the Inner Harbor.
I was shocked by the militarization around the ‘tourist’ areas of Baltimore. This display of power was sending a very clear message that even this white girl from the Southwest could understand.
‘These physical structures, THEY are valuable. You, people of Baltimore, you are not.’
The taxi takes me past the Inner Harbor and toward Johns Hopkins Medical Center, nestled in neighborhood where both poverty and college life exist cheek by jowl. An elementary school is letting out for the day. Six and seven year olds tumble out on to the street met by parents with hugs and kisses. Not a policeman or National Guard in sight.
‘We will use military force at huge cost to protect buildings, but not invest in children, not protect children.’
The following day I attend a meet and greet at a downtown hotel. My friend drops me off. There are at least 50 Maryland State Troopers standing outside the hotel. A few miles away several of my friend’s friends and their children are helping to clean up, talking to their neighbors. Is this who the Troopers have been ordered to protect the hotel or it’s visitors from? The people of Baltimore’s outrage is justified, but it didn’t start with death of Freddie Gray and now several weeks later the media has disappeared and my guess is it won’t return until the arraignment in July. Anyway, here are some people who know a crap load more than I do.
The Clock didn’t Start with the Riots by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Beyond the Headlines There’s Much More to West Baltimore by Mary C Curtis
Baltimore is like my hometown, beautiful, leafy, green, in parts, but also a complex depressed northern town with charm and character and in need of investment. I was there at Johns Hopkins for a consultation and a conference for patients and families with ARVD, meeting for the first time in my life, people with the same heart condition and doctors trying to figure it out. In a place in need of hope, with people driven by hope.
More to follow on Hopkins