Despite gushing rain and the threat of tornadoes in the vicinity, hundreds of Baltimoreans came to Point Pleasant Baptist Church on Wednesday night for the first of two mayoral primary forums co-sponsored by OSI-Baltimore, Associated Black Charities, and City Paper.
Rev. Heber Brown welcomed the candidates and guests by talking about the “haves and have-nots,” which, he said, are starkly divided by York Road, just steps from the church. He also introduced nine-year-old Assata Makonnen, who recently won her own election to be mayor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church’s Orita’s Cross Freedom School. She read her own suggested Baltimore budget, which dedicated the most funds to education and the environment and the least to crime. City Paper editor Karen Houppert has a great picture and quotes for Makonnen in her recap of the forum. Houppert and Johns Hopkins University professor and author of the just-released “Knocking the Hustle” will moderate the next forum in the series, on March 16.
As the Sun’s Luke Broadwater described in his own extensive recap of the forum, the candidates addressed a wide range of topics. Some of the sharpest exchanges related to the uprising. “It had to happen,” Stokes said. “People were saying, ‘Listen to us!’ God bless the people who rose up.”