Baltimore will always be my city. I was born here, and, no matter where I move, it seems I always come back. The violence following the death of Freddie Gray and its protests have been shocking. CNN coverage of the events have been equally shocking…Violence and protests turned into a spectacle with viewers glued to the tube wondering where this is going. Myself included.
What will come from all of this coverage? All of this attention? The problems of criminal activity; police brutality; and legal, political, racial tensions and crises are clear. Statistics surrounding prison populations, conviction rates, and socioeconomic conditions in urban neighborhoods across America are clear. Most recently, six Baltimore police officers have been charged with a host of charges surrounding Gray’s death. But, for me, the question remains what’s happens when the smoke clears and the international camera crews leave the city? Inequality will remain. Ineffective policies will remain. Harmful stereotypes and distrusting and uncommunicative populations will remain. How do we teach nonviolent protest and civil disobedience? How do we create dialogue amongst all of the people involved? How do we change laws and create new procedures in this bureaucracy that make sense, that can work? How do we create or rebuild new levels of trust, new friendships? The death and brutality facing millions of Americans is something that needs are attention, but it is the symptom of a much larger problem facing our nation. And this isn’t so black and white. Gray matters.