Earlier this month, a man named Freddie Gray was arrested and suffered massive injuries (including a severed spine) in the van after being arrested. Freddie Gray died a week later, on April 19th, from those injuries.
This latest death of a black person as a result of interaction with the police has caused always-simmering tensions in Baltimore to boil over once more. There have been protests, and in the last two days, more extreme situations have occurred, largely separate from the organized protests.
Baltimore has had problems with police misconduct for years, and Baltimoreans are very aware of the tensions and dangers this history engenders to black Baltimoreans.
Are You Okay?
Meg and I are fine: we live literally across from an elementary school in a largely residential partially-gentrified neighborhood.
What To Read
I’m not a reporter, and I haven’t been on the ground in these protests, but here are some pertinent links I think may be useful for getting a sense of what’s really happening in Baltimore and why. First off, know that numerically, the vast majority of the activity has been peaceful protest, and several protestor groups and individuals have put themselves between opportunistic agitators/looters and their targets. If all you’re seeing is video of looting and fighting, adjust your inputs. And remember how you thought about and framed video of uprisings in Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere in the world.
Here are some links to give context and food for thought:
Where to Watch
Twitter is my best source of what’s happening. To start, follow @Shaun King, @Nettaaaaaaaa, @Deray.
Read Baltimore’s City Paper (The Baltimore Sun is not doing a good job right now) and follow the sites of protest groups.
What You Can Do
The Maryland Food Bank is going to be facing a ton of demand this week as people’s lives and schedules are disrupted. Baltimore City Schools are canceled today, a place where many children get their only reliable meals. And many parents will have to miss work today to take care of their children.
Here’s the text of the emergency curfew and other restrictions now in place for Baltimore for the next 5+ days – including a 24hr curfew for youth and a total suspension of the freedom of assembly for those without a protest permit.