History is the autobiography of a mad man – Alexander Herzen
I feel like I usually write about something negative here. It’s usually a post about something I have a gripe with, a witty social commentary, or displaying a controversial opinion. Today though is a change. I write in celebration and optimism, and it’s all due to the 300. No not the Spartans. But the 300 men in Baltimore who are trying to change their city.
I called Baltimore home for 5 years. It’s a city that I love. It has a distinct personality and feeling. We love our Raven’s and O’s and there is a distinct dialect… But it also has a huge downside. Crime and violence. Certain streets (the blue light district) are even lined with cameras because crime is so rampant in those areas. But… there is a glimmer of change.
What started as a single act of frustration has now been built into an entire movement of hope. 300 men who went out in a way to change the way their neighborhood was operating. Disagreements in their neighborhood prevented a sense of community, absent fathers led to cycles of broken families, and recently a string of random acts of violence especially against children (including a 1 year old that was gunned down) was the last straw.
An event known as “The 300 men march” (though there were many more people and women that participated) was launched and a movement was started. This wasn’t a memorial march for the kids it was to enact change. A change from the norm of the streets not being safe, of senseless deaths, of not having a sense of community, and having something to be proud of for future generations of children. It was attempting to get people off their stoops, out of shadows and into the streets with a cry of “no more!”
It was also a movement for women. It was acknowledged in the community that the women had held the majority of the burden for the lives of the citizens. Women were the ones raising children, women were the ones working to provide for their families, women were the ones who kept the community going. The men decided it was time for them to step up as a whole. A community with only one gender doing the majority of the work will not succeed.
I’ve talked about “ghetto nihilism,” men needing to step up, a the purpose for strong communities in my previous posts and this movement addresses all of those issues. A memorial for a 15 year old who was shot down was gone after one week. Taken down by people who don’t care. A child lives, then dies, is memorialized for a week and then forgotten about. This cycle needs to be broken. This movement is making partners with the police, with politicians and has their support. Public and private entities working together to cleanse a city. Neither side can do it alone.
This is an awakening. This is universally good. It helps men, women, the young, the old, the white, the black, everyone. This is how value is added to life. This is what community means. This is what governance means. This is what life is about, and I wish it all the best of luck.
More information: http://corcommunity.com/300_Men_March.html