Many of you have texted/emailed/gchatted/called to check on me this week and I really appreciate it! The violence and rioting that occurred on Monday was fairly contained about three miles from us and I haven’t felt unsafe at any point this week. I am still wrapping my thoughts around everything that has happened and my facebook feed has been flooded with articles, opinions and, from a few, ignorance. I try to keep politics and controversy off facebook but I thought a blog post could help me adequately sort through my feelings.
I want to start by saying I clearly can’t begin to imagine how Freddie Gray, his family and the residents of Sandtown-Winchester feel or what they have gone through, however everyone in the city is definitely feeling the impact of Gray’s illegal arrest (as just charged by the Maryland Sate’s Attorney) and death and the subsequent unrest throughout the city. The sound of choppers overhead has been a constant since Saturday as 4-6 media/police helicopters are constantly circling. My office has been closed since Monday afternoon when they sent us home after word of the planned protest/riot/”purge” was circulated. They played an O’s game two blocks from our apartment in front of zero fans. We’ve obeyed the 10pm-5am curfew which feels particularly surreal. Aside from all of that, the story has just been top of mind and the first thing everyone is talking about. We’ve briefly touched on it during every conference call as we work remotely, we’ve heard bartenders and restaurateurs discuss it in terms of closing early and economic impact, and we’ve had our own debates on whether or not we think the officers will get indicted.
I was particularly impressed with President Obama’s statement and his call for institutional change. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s statement and the charges they are filing against the six police officers involved also call out the issues that have been seen between the Baltimore police and the residents of the poverty-stricken neighborhoods of the city: unlawful arrest and callousness/disregard for human life (read this NPR article for information on the charges). I in NO way think this reflects the actions/opinions of the entire police force, BUT I do agree that there needs to be systematic change. Read this investigative piece from 2014 by the Baltimore Sun for more information on the history of undue force used by Baltimore Police.
It was tough to watch criminals wreak havoc on the city Monday night – looting, attacking police, setting fires – and tough to know that viewers at home across the country and the world were passing judgement on Baltimore based on those actions. What they did was wrong, illegal and incredibly hostile. However, it is with pride that I have seen the city come together and repair over the past few days. I just saw a couple interviews on local news with two men in Freddie Gray’s neighborhood who in the same statement thanked the State’s Attorney for bringing charges against the officers, thanked the police officers for maintaining safety in the neighborhood and encouraged everyone to stay peaceful over the weekend. Yesterday, Jeanette and I dropped off gatorade, fruit and granola bars to police officers who were working in the harbor since they have been working pretty much around the clock since Saturday to make sure our city stays safe.
I still love this city and while this was a tough week, I did many things that reminded me of how great this city is. I went for a run around gorgeous Federal Hill and the Inner Harbor, Jeanette and I did some traditional Baltimore stoop-sitting for a pre-curfew drink and chat with our neighbors, and we walked into the neighborhood for early dinner/drinks to show support for local businesses.
The above photo is of Adam and his groomsmen at our wedding. To me this photo illustrates a couple things 1. Adam is totally badass and 2. clearly the cordial relationship we have with the Baltimore Police is not the same relationship other residents have elsewhere in the city. Hopefully everything that happened this week is a a wake up call and the start of change and healing- even after the national media stops shining a light on it.
Much love to Baltimore, our residents, our police, and our sports teams! One Baltimore. ❤