(BALTIMORE – March 16, 2018) – This is a quick one. Tens of millions of dollars are being currently invested by the State of Maryland to transform Baltimore’s blight into something better. There is at least one brand new school that just opened in place of the former John Eager Howard Elementary School; it’s named Dorothy I Height Elementary. Nearby is the former housing and shopping complex dubbed “Murder Mall”. That, too, is gone.
My question is this. As all of these improvements are being made, will the current residents of West Baltimore be a part of this … “New Baltimore”?
Hundreds of families in Historic East Baltimore were politely removed for the expansion of Johns Hopkins. Most did not return. Many did, but most were ushered elsewhere, including those who received vouchers to move to Baltimore County.
Once known for having the largest number of free blacks prior to the Civil War, the future of Baltimore has fewer blacks than ever.
The irony is we have one of the highest percentages of black elected officials than most other American cities. Yet, this political affluence is not translating into the economic empowerment of our community. Another piece of irony is that Baltimore is a 9-to-1 Democratic town where blacks are the most loyal voting bloc.
So, how come the black community is consistently bypassed? Why is it that North and Pulaski hasn’t changed in the past 50 years, yet North and Charles gets transformed seemingly overnight?
It’s about political will or a lack thereof, and that is simply unacceptable.
Long story short, the people in West Baltimore must come together and expeditiously so. We must sit down and put differences aside.
The Freddie Gray, in my honest opinion, has refueled pre-existing division. With millions of dollars in grants spread throughout, I find neighboring community groups competing quite often for the same pot of money.
If Coppin Heights, the North Avenue Task Force, Matthew Henson Community Association, Sandtown-Winchester, Harlem Park, Upton, Druid Heights, Penn-North and Greater Mondawmin have not figured out that we must join forces, it will eventually mean the death of us all.