Ray Kelly has made defunding the police his life’s mission. He knows it’s an uphill battle.
By J. Brian Charles
Ray Kelly worried that the sound system wasn’t going to work. If the speakers failed, he was less likely to draw people to the park to build support for Baltimore’s movement to defund the police—to shift law enforcement funding to other services and projects that proponents hope can decrease violence. If he couldn’t get their attention with music, Kelly worried, he wouldn’t be able to explain the opportunity they had to radically reimagine how to keep their communities safe.
“Music is what brings this community outside,” Kelly said. He fussed with the wires until R&B singer Miguel’s “Sure Thing” began to fill the park. Moments later, as Kelly predicted, the small trickle of residents who had wandered out of nearby buildings to see what was happening gave way to a flood of more than 200 people.