Because it’s now or never.
Baltimore is ground zero in the fight for a livable, multi-racial, middle class future. We should be winning that fight, but we’re not.
Too many of us are starting to lose faith. Four long years ago, the death of Freddie Gray taught the city that too many neighborhoods are being left behind, and can’t be ignored any longer. But since then, we’ve made no progress, and our leaders have failed to take responsibility for real solutions.
It’s time for a new coalition — ready to build on our strengths as a city, unafraid to tell the truth about what must change, and tired of hearing about a potential that’s never realized.
We must demand more from our leaders, and ourselves, starting now.
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On April 27, 2015, everything changed. We still don’t agree on what to call it. Maybe it was a riot. Or maybe, “the unrest.” Or perhaps, an uprising.
Whatever it’s called, it destroyed politics as usual in Baltimore, and demanded a reckoning with the decades of population decline and disinvestment that our establishment – the nonprofits, the foundations, the pastors, the politicians, the business community, the “anchor institutions” – has failed to stop or reverse.
The revolt four years ago was against an unaccountable City Hall, unable to take real responsibility for schools, police, transit, or neighborhoods, against unaccountable leaders that keep winning elections despite the results, and against a complacent status quo that could look the other way until a CVS at the corner of Penn and North burned.
Four years later, City Hall is as unaccountable as ever, and infected with corruption.
It is time for an accountability reset – an end to a low-accountability government, and an end to our own low expectations of that government, and of ourselves.