The real and personal (Baltimore City)

By: De’asia Ellis

There have been 77 youth homicides in the last three months, 28 in the past 30 days, and two in the last week in Baltimore City. When will this stop? When will we have a sense of community restored? When will a parent not be apprehensive about their child walking to school or playing outside on the front porch with their friends? When and how will Baltimore City be safe again? Let’s make it personal. Let’s make it real. Within the past two weeks, I have walked the streets of Baltimore to ask residents four questions.

  1. Do you have kids? If so how many, and what are their genders?
  2. Are you afraid for their safety, if so why?
  3. Do you see a clear future for them?
  4. Do you have hope that Baltimore City will get better?

All I know is that I am a first year student at Goucher College, and writing this piece is a small thing. I know that it may never make a difference. But, I think people need to know the truth, even if it is just five, ten, or fifteen people. To be educated is to be informed, that is what I am hoping to do. I do not think anyone notices the fight that Baltimore City residents are fighting on a daily basis and how it destroys the city more in the process.

Parent 1 (Age 33): This is a parent of three boys in Baltimore City. She talked to me about being afraid because she has all boys and every time she looks around young boys are being shot down or stabbed up. She fears for the safety of her boys because as she said, “There is hope for my boys. There is hope that one day they will grow up and be successful. There is hope that one day they will grow up. I have to believe that.” She proceeded to also say, “But, I fear that there is no hope for this city.”

Parent 2 (age 67, grandmother): This grandmother invited me into her home to show me photos of her son who was shot 16 times in 2010 at the age 25 over drug money. She also told me how the mother of her grandkids also slings drugs and does not really have time for her kids because to her that is her way of providing. She has since took on the role of parent to her two grandkids (one girl and one boy.) She said, “Growing up my friends and I would run up and down the street. We would chase down the ice cream man and now, I would not even allow my grandkids to eat off one of those trucks. I trust no one. My son was gunned down by two guys he grew up with. I use to feed them when they were young, I allowed them into my home and I allowed them to lay their heads on my pillows when they had nowhere else to lay them and they kill my son!”  She talked about how all she do now is watch after her grand babies, to make sure they are safe and that they will have the opportunities that the city seems like they do not want to give.

When will we stop allowing our youth to be subjected to this cruel abuse? When will we give them an opportunity to get what they deserve? A chance to grow and learn.

(Photo Credit: Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

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