I had another post planned for tonight, but I’ve spent the evening reading as much as I can about what is happening in Baltimore, and so I’ll offer this, instead.
Many people can tell you about Baltimore. They can tell you about the history of the city, at times proud and at times troubled, often both at once. They can tell you about the neighborhoods and the parades, about the scandals and the initiatives, about the Orioles and the Colts, about the Berger cookies and the crabs. They can tell you about it far better than I can. I haven’t studied the city; I have only lived there.
What I can say, tonight, is that my heart hurts for Baltimore. The city and its people are in pain.
So please know that this city, the one you might have seen burning on TV tonight, is so many things.
It is a place of neighborhoods, where people ask, “What part of the city are you from?” before they ask what you do for a living.
It is a place of beauty, where the summers bloom with heat and color, and where the winters light up entire streets.
It is a place of century-old rowhomes, some pristine, and some destroyed.
It is a place of stadiums, filled with orange and purple, and teams cheered on by those throughout the nearby streets.
It is a city of history, and tradition, and joy, and loss – in some very important ways, I imagine, much like your own hometown.
Tonight, I am remembering someone I met last week, in Baltimore, who works in a similar field as I do, helping young people find their way. She told me she worried for her husband’s safety when he stopped, often before the sun rose, for coffee on the way to work each morning. She worried about what the cops who patrolled the area would think: he was black, and they were white. And so, he’d recently started making coffee at home, instead.
Tonight, I am compelled to say that I do not condone violence. But I also do not condone silence that, because of its power, becomes just as lethal.
Tonight, I am wishing for lasting, meaningful, and genuine peace for Baltimore, for all of its residents, for all of its children: tonight, and tomorrow, and all the days that are yet to come.