BALTIMORE (FinalCall.com) – So many thoughts flood the brain as this journalist has written many times about some of the most critical issues of recent times involving police brutality and Black men. Like you, I’ve watched on television as events have unfolded across the nation—all with a similar scenario: unarmed young Black man dead after encountering law enforcement.
This time, it’s home. As a matter of fact, right around the corner from my house is the Western District Police Station, site of protests on behalf of the late Freddie Gray. He presumably died of a broken neck while being escorted in a paddy wagon; he had cuffs on his arms and legs. Video shows he could not move his legs much as he was being hauled into the transport vehicle initially.
It could be quite poetic, one could argue, given the timing of it all—how this is yet another death that has garnered international attention. For one, the Million Man March is scheduled for October—just six months away—and Baltimore is but 45 minutes away. I’m thinking Baltimore will come out significantly for this march—especially given the death of Gray. Then, in twelve months, the current mayor—Stephanie Rawlings-Blake—is up for re-election. Many residents want former Mayor Sheila Dixon back in the fold. She is to Baltimore what Marion Barry was to Washington, D.C.
With all of this unfolding and Baltimore’s dirty little secret becoming material for every news outlet in the world, Rawlings-Blake is going to need more than money to beat Dixon.
The bottom line is that none of these protests and associated activities should be a surprise.
There are countless names of Black men who have been killed by police in Baltimore, including Dale Graham, Tyrone West, and Anthony Anderson. Family after family—mother of murdered son after mother of murdered son—mourn the tragic loss of life.
As an urban resident, I am often perplexed at the people who immediately shift the conversation to essentially put blame on the victims. Nothing could be more ludicrous. Nothing could be more insane.
If you have two plants, and one of them you water often, you give it sunlight, you talk to it—but the other, you sparingly give water, hide in the closet and never talk to. Six months later, you set them side by side. What flower do you think will look the best, the healthiest, the most vibrant?
This is what happens in Baltimore where we have a preponderance of Black elected officials. The areas around the tourist attracting Inner Harbor get investment, but Black communities get very little. Recently, we got a new funeral home on the Westside and we couldn’t be more elated.
I personally believe that there are plenty of resources, but these funds never find their way into the Black community. For whatever reasons, the Black community looks like an underdeveloped country.