#ThisIsBaltimore The Day After Freddie Gray

Last night everyone was looking at Baltimore all across the globe and I felt like most of what they were seeing was just fulfilling¬† stereotypes. I really had a hard time trying to wrestle with all the bad publicity this city was getting. I didn’t feel it was right that so many of the negative people in this amazing city were being highlighted. After convincing my wife that I would be perfectly fine I decided to head out and join the peaceful protesters near Druid Hill Park today. Once I met up with them one thing was made extremely apparent, they were well organized and had a few community leaders that they were looking to. We began walking around the city, and I didn’t realize until we were halfway there that we were being lead downtown. Every half mile or so the leaders of the group of about 200-300 would stop everyone and emphasize the point that these protests were to be peaceful. They explained that they did not want to let anyone stop them from getting the message across.

What I saw out there was night and day compared to all the riots and looting that went on yesterday. I was comfortable with the group the second I joined up with them and marched with them all the way to City Hall. Along the way we were greeted and cheered on by all the locals in our path. Tons of people came out of their homes to join the march and while chanting that “All Lives Matter.” This group did not just focus on Black rights, but instead the rights of all of us as Americans. I feel like a lot of us may find it easy to lose faith in our fellow man, but seeing things like this can really restore the faith that positive change can come.

I received my degree in Sociology from Salisbury University, and am no stranger to the struggles of African-Americans in this country, and in Baltimore especially. There are so many that have been red-lined and institutionalized into these impoverished neighborhoods. Even with these disadvantages they were able to come together and put on a peaceful march that could not be ignored by the mainstream media. I overheard quite a few journalists there basically disinterested in the peaceful demonstrations going on. I feel like they just wanted to be there in case a fight or something negative took place. I literally watched a reporter yawn through one of the speeches given by the leaders of the march and ask her cameraman when this guy would “shut up.” Either way, I am very privileged to have been able to be there to see this with my own eyes. I hope more people begin to see that Baltimore can come back from this, and there is a lot more to Charm City than negativity and violence.