I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, or as it is affectionately called, Charm City. I often referred to my family as a band of gypsies because we practically lived in every quadrant of the city. But the majority of my childhood was spent in West Baltimore. I am very familiar with North Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Lexington Market and Mondawmin Mall. Baltimore is my hometown and even though I left (for the second time) in 2005, Baltimore is still home.
So today, as I write this blog I am disheartened by what is taking place in my hometown. I am appalled. I am sad. I am angry. I am hurt. I am also baffled by how anyone can justify the behavior of the youth and associate it with protesting for the murder of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore City Police. The actions of these youth are not protesting. It is destruction. It is opportunist thuggery at its finest. This not the example that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and others set when they protested racial injustices during the 1960s.
“A riot is the language of the unheard.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Do we not understand that? Do we not understand that what is taking place in Baltimore has now overshadowed the death of Freddie Gray? What happens when the destruction stops, the smoke clears and the dust settles? Businesses that the community relied on are now gone. People are out of jobs. A city is left in ruins, and for what? What message is really being sent….and received? America is watching. America is being shown angry black teenagers destroying the city in which they live. America already has preconceived notions about black youth and with the portrayal of the riots in Baltimore through the eyes of the media, America is saying, ‘we knew it all along.’
My heart aches for the family of Freddie Gray. On the day that they laid their beloved son to rest, the city that they too call home is thrown into total chaos. The family called for peace. They asked protestors to not protest on Monday, April 27 2015 and while protestors adhered to the wishes of the family, criminally minded children did not, and now we are here.
But the human spirit is resilient. The human spirit is tough. The human spirit is strong. Baltimore like other communities who have experienced riots in the past, will bounce back. This will not keep the city of Baltimore down. The residents will rally together and rebuild. They will come together and begin to take back their communities. It will take a concerted effort though. We also need parents to be parents and not friends to their children. We need our men to step up and protect our communities of women and children; and the people of God must humble themselves, pray and seek his face that our land may be healed.
Baltimore, I am praying for you, HON. You will bounce back. You will be better than you were. We will survive.