BALTIMORE—Open Society Institute-Baltimore will support 13 community-based events and projects marking the fifth anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore Uprising in 2015. Proposals were selected from among dozens submitted in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) announced in February.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the proposed projects have been delayed or shifted to an online format, but all have confirmed that they will continue, ensuring that Baltimore residents have many chances to reflect on the impact of the events that happened in our city five years ago this month.
“The Uprising was a crucial inflection point in the history of Baltimore,” says OSI-Baltimore Director Danielle Torain. “The tragic death of Freddie Gray was followed by a massive youth and young-adult-led movement to address the deep, systemic inequities in our city. In addition to spurring the community-informed consent decree and other reforms, it inspired a generation of activists and advocates continuing that work today. While the work is far from complete, it’s important to reflect on the events that took place five years ago, where we are now, and where we need to move in the future.”
OSI is providing funds to support the following efforts.
- 901 Arts will host four local Black artists, including rapper Kotic Couture, filmmaker Taylor Evans, and multidisciplinary social practice artist Abdu Ali, one per week, to share their work and lead youth in an activity/workshop of their design reflecting on the Baltimore Uprising and its underlying causes, culminating in a community event DJed by a local Black DJ and event producer.
- Baltimore Corps will host Healing Baltimore Community Day, which will include an opportunity for community members to network and connect with community organizations and a panel discussion on healing from trauma and stressors from life in Baltimore City along with solutions on how to deal with trauma and stressors.
- Bard Early College High School will host Writing & Thinking 2020, a two-day experience in which the West Baltimore school’s 450 students will review texts related to the Uprising and its themes, watch student-created film A Short Documentary for a Greater Mondawmin, hear from local activists and workshop leaders, and respond to writing prompts asking students to reflect on their identities and memories of the Uprising and how those events and police brutality affect them and their families.
- Beth Am Synagogue will host a series of public events in Reservoir Hill examining how the killing of Freddie Gray and the subsequent Uprising affected neighborhoods and people across the city and how things have and have not changed in the past five years through direct storytelling, speakers, panels, and artistic performances.
- I AM MENtality Youth Male Empowerment will host a full-day summit for Baltimore City youth, law enforcement officers, lawmakers, and community members to engage in relationship-building activities, including meditation and cooking, and dialogue intended to improve the relations between police and the communities they serve.
- The Institute for Integrative Health’s project, “How Are We Healing?” builds on conversations initiated during its 2018 exhibition and program series, A Beautiful Ghetto, Three Years Later: A Conversation About Healing, using a participatory community arts project led by 1998 OSI Community Fellow, Cinder Hypki, that produced over 490 participant-created images.
- The Jewish Museum of Maryland will present “Gray in Black and White,” an online exhibit of images of the Uprising and its aftermath featuring the work of Baltimore photographers Devin Allen and J.M. Giordano and conversation in which the artists discuss their work, the anniversary, and what lessons still need to be learned.
- Motor House will curate a photographic portrait exhibit called “Joy”, featuring 10 local activists photographed in their happiest places in Baltimore, paired with a narrative from the activist, as recorded by an oral historian, that discusses how they have continued to struggle for freedom and equality.
- The Murphy Family Charitable Foundation, in partnership with the Murphy, Falcon & Murphy law firm, will present Freddie Gray: Five Years Later, a day of programming examining the effects of the death of Freddie Gray and ensuing events in Baltimore, concluding with a talk by Wes Moore, CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation and author of the upcoming book “Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City.”
- Organizing Black, in collaboration with other local partners, will commemorate the five-year anniversary of the Baltimore Uprising through a virtual week of action aimed at addressing the root issues of the uprising and a series of in-person events that will take place later in the year.
- Real News Network will produce a 15-20 minute video Five Years Later: What Have We Learned from the Death of Freddie Gray? featuring interviews with individuals who were directly involved in the Uprising as well as video footage from interviews and scenes filmed during the Uprising.
- St. Gregory Catholic Church in Sandtown-Winchester will host “A Day of Healing and Music,” reprising an event it hosted in the wake of the Uprising in 2015 in the center of Gilmore Homes, featuring live music by jazz quartet the Greg Hatza ORGANization, tables for community-based organizations providing services in the community to share information, and food.
- Times Community Services, the non-profit arm of the Baltimore Times Newspaper, will present an exhibition of Baltimore-based artists, gallery walk, and community conversation on the subject, “Baltimore Uprising: Have Things Changed or Remained the Same?”