While civil unrest may have eased in Baltimore City, many of the individuals swept up in the police crackdown are still in jail—going on two months later—as they await final judgment of their criminal charges.
In order to think about solutions to the system, we need a deeper understanding of the problems. Police are trained to address violent crime, despite the fact that the majority of the calls for service that they receive are nonviolent in nature.
The tragic murders of unarmed Black men at the hands of police officers is a glaring example of law enforcement viewing Black men and boys as a problem within society that needs to be dealt with and controlled.
When you walk, drive, or ride the bus in Baltimore do you see homeless youth? Can you tell whether the youth you stroll past is headed to a safe, stable home, or whether she doesn’t know where she’ll lay her head tonight or find her next meal?
Five years ago, fresh out of college, I taught my first creative writing workshop in a Baltimore school. That very first day—nervous, young, worried that the kids would see through my lack of expertise—I met a child who lived to write.
I was born in a refugee camp in Nepal. I never imagined I would go to college because the camp only offered 1st to 10th grade.
Maryland’s preparation for the full implementation of health care reform on January 1, 2014 offers an exciting opportunity to make significant changes to our substance abuse treatment system. Open Society Institute-Baltimore and our grantees have spent many hours working to ensure that comprehensive substance abuse services are part of the essential health benefits in Maryland. This is an enormous step forward and will undoubtedly increase the number of individuals who are able to access substance abuse treatment next year.
Baltimore has long been a city that welcomes new arrivals. According to some historical records Baltimore ranked 2nd only to Ellis Island as a destination for arriving Immigrants. What is less well known, is that while people were arriving in large numbers to Baltimore’s ports looking for rail, mill, and shipyard jobs, it was on these very same railroads that large numbers of arrivals decided to move out of Baltimore in search of greener pastures.
This August, Writers in Baltimore Schools held its first sleepaway writing camp, the weeklong Baltimore Young Writers Studio. We’ve held two-day writing studios in Baltimore before, but this year, we took fourteen kids between the ages of twelve to sixteen to the woods of western Maryland for an intensive writing experience. It was a homegrown project, staffed by local writers and Teach for America dynamos, and created in the image of the writing camp that perhaps changed the direction of my young life, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio.
As I walk into the Baltimore City Detention Center for my weekly garden class, a guard remarks on how big the plants are getting. I place my belongings into a bin and get patted down, and another employee tells me about her own garden. I tell her about the direction of the program, and for better serving the juveniles locked up there, facing adult charges. When they get out, I hope to be able to provide them with community service options or assist them in getting jobs in the field of horticulture. My hope for the city is that we can use gardening in schools, churches, and transition environments to heal and build stronger and healthier communities.