Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baltimore

Last night, I watched the mall where I got my first driver’s license get looted on national television.  The city I love.  The city where I grew up.  The city where I plan on spending my future.  Baltimore is in a state of chaos.  Many have turned to Facebook in this hour of unrest and destruction.  Pleas for peace and pleas for justice have dominated my newsfeed for the past 48 hours.  Some are scared, and some see this as a unique opportunity for change.
Personal opinions aside, seeing buildings aflame on CNN is disheartening.  Seeing people so desperate that they would rather resist the firefighters trying to save their city is disheartening.  Seeing the Orioles cancel a home game for the second consecutive night is disheartening.  Most disheartening of all, however, is that amidst all of this turmoil, Baltimore natives are turning on each other.
            There is no denying the tragedy of Freddie Gray.  There is no denying the gentrification of Baltimore city.  There is no denying that a long road lies ahead before real peace, real justice, and real equality can prevail.  But, today, I am disappointed in Baltimore.
It kills me to see my high school classmates engaging in counter-productive arguments on social media.  It kills me to see Baltimore residents putting their knives through fire hoses.  It kills me that, as always, the overwhelming focus is on the problem at hand, and not the solution.
Today, I want to see an end to the rioting and looting.  Tomorrow, I want to see the Orioles run onto the infield at Camden Yards to a sellout crowd.  In the very near future, I want to see the city I know and love stand together in pride.
In the end, we cannot make any progress if we are not willing to work together.  We've turned on each other on Facebook.  We've turned on each other on TV.  We've turned on each other on our very own streets.

So, Baltimore, it's time to take matters into our own hands.  We cannot fight in the extreme, neither in language nor in action.  We must come together as the city we were and city we are, in order to ensure the future of the city we will be.