(BALTIMORE – March 18, 2020) – Marvin “Doc“ Cheatham and I do not always agree. However, I can truthfully say that I know he’s genuinely concerned about Baltimore, especially his community in Central West Baltimore. He lives in the Matthew Henson community next door to Sandtown. As chief of the Matthew A. Henson Neighborhood Association, he has a long tenure serving the community. From registering more people to vote in Maryland history to serving as President of the Baltimore Branch of the NAACP, he has been fighting for the community, including our beloved James Mosher Baseball, most of his life.
While he and I have had a couple of knock-down drag-out battles over the years, I tend to know his heart.
All this to say, for Doc to give Sheila Dixon any kind of accolades today meant the world to the Dixon Camp. You see, Doc is demanding (as he should be). Where certain community leaders in Baltimore are quiet at the wrong times, Doc is that ‘squeaky wheel’. I can assure you that the last thing any politician wants is Doc Cheatham on their case.
Now, let’s not get it twisted. Sheila Dixon is no chump and can handle her own on her own. She needs no help. She went to Matthew A. Henson Neighborhood Association’s food giveaway today to offer Doc’s call for help. The community group has partnered with the Baltimore Franciscan Center and has consequently distributed food to over 500 community residents since Monday, including children. Much of this part of town is a food desert. This was illuminated 5 years ago during the Freddie Gray Uprising.
Frankly, I wasn’t sure how Dixon’s visit would go. As professional as she is, Doc can get a little rowdy sometimes. But, not today. As a matter of fact, he said he is leaning towards endorsing Dixon. I think that is nice.
In all honesty, he stated that he has talked to other mayoral candidates. And Dixon added that he should.
The truth of the matter is that Doc demonstrates for community leaders around the country how tenacious one needs to be in order to get attention for a given community. I live in Sandtown. Believe you me, it’s almost as if you have to act the fool in order to get certain services and resources that are readily available to other communities. Really and truly, Doc’s community and my community right next door are among those consistently forsaken by our leaders.
Frankly, people talk a good game (not referring to Sheila, of course). But, since Freddie Gray, Matthew Henson, Sandtown, Penn-North – all look worse. We have more vacants. We have more drugs. And we even have a new phenomenon of homeless White addicts. It’s just a hot mess, and the police are handcuffed by a Consent Decree with no hope in sight. That’s our reality in West Baltimore. We have never seen it this bad.
In any event, today was a good day. Two great Baltimoreans, two titans who both have a long track record of serving the community convened in the 1500 block of McKean Avenue as food was being handed-out. Young people were present, too. I think it was beautiful.