The city of Baltimore has again erupted in violence, this time not connected to police brutality. As American prepares to celebrate Memorial Day, at least 16 people have been shot this weekend already, resulting in multiple fatalities. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called the violent outbreak disheartening given the progress the city has made.
The recent shootings have prompted a B’more Peaceful protest. The march for peace beginning in West Baltimore and ending at City Hall was organized in order to send a message of peace and unity. The walk was led by a red pickup truck from which Kinji Scott, an activist, declared loud and clear:
Today, we are making a unified stand together as one city and one people against ALL violence in this city. All forms of violence in our community are wrong.
Tammie Garrett, a participant in the peace march, youth leader and administrator at Ames Memorial United Methodist Church, said the recent number of homicides is troubling. Garrett added:
Truthfully, we are killing more of each other than the police are; if we want peace, if we want justice, we have to start with ourselves. We have to become unified.
Reverend Rodney Hudson wanted to clarify that he is not telling people to forget their loves ones who have been killed. Instead, he is saying people must do something about it. Hudson, Pastor of Ames Memorial, was one of the key leaders enlisted by the Baltimore police to help calm tensions on the streets after Freddie Gray’s death.
The Revolutionary Communist Party also had participants join the march. One in particular, Noche Diaz, said as they marched through the city he could not deny the obvious contrast. Some neighborhoods had buildings which were boarded-up while downtown displayed gleaming development. Diaz said:
Many poor people in Baltimore know this society does not care about them, and so they do not care.
Protesters who are outraged over police brutality are now forced to turn their focus towards the recent violence. They took to the streets again, but this time as a cry to the people to stop the nonsense. Deputy Commissioner Davis admits responding to this weekend’s violent eruption has not been easy. It has been a real challenge to respond to certain areas and neighborhoods in light of all the city, as a whole, has endured.
Anthony Batts, Police Commissioner, addressed his officers before their shift Saturday night. He thanked them for working hard to get the violence off the streets and told them their response to the challenges of the weekend will follow them. Out of the city’s crisis, according to Batts, is the opportunity to change the future of Baltimore. He added:
We have a grand opportunity to change how we police in our communities. Community engagement is a grand opportunity to sit down and establishment relationships and that is what we are going to start doing.
Memorial Day weekend has erupted in violence. A surge of crime across the city has resulted in the death of several people. More than 100 people have been killed since the beginning of the year in Baltimore, with the numbers steadily climbing. At least 16 killings have been reported this weekend, but community leaders are joining the efforts of police to bring the violence to a halt.
by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Baltimore Sun: 16 shot this weekend in Baltimore
ABS News: Baltimore Co Police Investigate Stabbing, Shooting
CBS Local: Holiday Weekend Violence Leaves 5 Dead In Baltimore
Featured Image Courtesy of Ben – Flickr License
Inside Image Courtesy of Elliott Plack – Flickr License