As I am scrolling through the multitudes of articles about the protests and riots and history in Baltimore, I come to one that brings tears to my eyes. The video (if you don’t have time to watch it, and you should) is a video of some gang members, assorted gang members, standing together in a church there to talk about how to make the violence stop. They are discussing unity and encouraging people to hear them. This is a side of the story that hasn’t had much airtime. 100’s of clergy marching to stop the violence. Church officials holding meetings with the major gangs in Baltimore trying to find a solution. What a testimony!
What’s going on in Baltimore is multi-fold and has been brewing for years. We are seeing these simplified ideas emerge of what has happened. People in my news feed are calling out to stop food stamps for Baltimore, as if we’d only be starving the rioters. They are posting pictures that say “All lives matter. Praying for the safety of every police officer and every innocent bystander,” as if those are the only lives in ‘all lives’ that matter. (That one really irks me. It’s basically a slap in the face of the #blacklivesmatter movement.) Some are saying that Obama set the whole thing up so Marshall law could be declared and he could stay President indefinitely. (Uh, I need new ‘friends’) But I know people in Baltimore.
I lived just outside of Baltimore for two years. Many of my friends stayed throughout college and for years after. Several still live inside Baltimore. Several will and have taken part in the protests. Several have and will take part in the clean ups. These people are telling a very different story. School buses forced to empty and leave students who were then maced before proceeding to throw rocks at the police who were macing them for no reason. (This purge is unbelievable. Leaving children with no safe place to go, no way home. How can the administration done this?!) First eruption of violence due to the O’s game. MTA leaving people to walk in the most at risk areas. Gangs stepping up with churches to get it to stop. Clean up schedules being passed around and rec centers opening doors and offering food and shelter. And to these solutions and to that fire that makes a sea of multi colored flagged gang members stand side by side in the church, and walk the streets with the clergy and the pastors: to that fire I say, fan it. Don’t let that fire burn out Baltimore.
Baltimore is in crisis. Whether you believe that it is a deserved crisis or undeserved, the church should be at the forefront of the solution. Fan the fire of the people coming together to stop this violence and the violence that lead to it. Be a part of the fire of non-violent, non-compliance. That’s right, don’t comply to the demands of the police to remain non-violent, don’t comply to the city. Comply to the church, to the people dedicated to peace and change and be non-compliant with the police. Pack your toothbrushes Baltimore, it could be a long week.
Clean up schedules, safe places, shelters, fast facts, what to pack for protest.
How not to talk about the riots.
Gang involvement in the riots
Non-Compliance and non-violence
For those who frame a complex issue with phrases such as, ‘I’m not racist, but’; ‘those people’; & ‘like animals’, we pray HARD.
(Via Lexa Lemieux)
Friends in Baltimore stay safe. Help out. Be ready. Stay peaceful.