By Doni Glover, Publisher
(WHITE HOUSE – September 17, 2022) – There were some compelling stories shared on Thursday during the “United We Stand” presentation. Audience members heard from a former skinhead who has since changed his thinking. There was a woman named Dawn Collins who lost her son, Second Lt. Richard Collins, III, to a murderous hate crime. He was a true soldier. Another woman lost her son in the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub. These and other heart-wrenching stories tore at the core of one’s humanity.
The sorrow lives on, but so does hope. One man spoke about forgiving the very man who tried to kill him.
The thoughts flashed through my mind – so many I don’t know where to start.
For starters, much credit to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for a proactive administration in these perilous times. I personally want to say “Thank you” for recognizing the need to counter the foolishness that has been exacerbated by the deeds and actions of former President Donald Trump, a person who – along with many misguided people – seemingly will do anything to get his way. This is the man who sent people to attack the Capitol Building on January 6th and put his own Vice President at risk.
Who does that?
Never mind the rest of us, Trump has diabolically tapped into the most base emotion of America: race. He has single-handedly spearheaded and re-invigorated the false, deep, and ugly notion that America does not belong to the rest of us.
And so, the age-old story of good against evil plays out in American towns and cities as we speak. For the record, I’m betting on good.
Hating people is wrong, and you shouldn’t need a book to tell you that. Your parents or guardians should have taught that, or maybe a teacher. There are many exceptions, and I do understand. However, America is for all people, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation. All means all. No one has the right to kill another person. Again, one shouldn’t need to read a book to know that. It’s basic to any civilization.
If you don’t like a person, then don’t deal with them. If you don’t like what’s on TV, change the channel. Sound easy? Yet, there are those who have meetings and chat groups and the like all around their collective disdain for a particular group of people, including Jews, Latinx, and Africans. From the Indigenous peoples to Blacks to Chinese to a variety of other groups – many have suffered in this country because of their race – their creed – their sexuality.
And it has to stop. This is exactly why I hope Trump pays for the trauma he caused America and the jeopardy he put us in as a country. When America is not strong at home, we look weak to the international community. And that’s not good.
If we are true world leaders, we must practice what we preach. How do we look telling others to democratize if we don’t lead by example?
2022 is a different world than 1968. I was three. I saw Baltimore on fire because of the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I vividly recall the stress those riots caused. People were on edge – maybe not in our house, but certainly all around. Some people had to put markings on their doors to let rioters know that Black people lived there.
In 2015, Baltimore saw the Freddie Gray unrest unfold, the first such thing in 47 years. Penn-North was ground zero as international media came and witnessed something more poignant than the riots. They saw what we call the “bandos”, the ocean of abandoned buildings, especially in the Black community in East and West Baltimore.
Commonly referred to as the White L and the Black butterfly, Baltimore is the home of segregation. Stopping racial violence is one thing. Reversing centuries of institutional racism is another. Hoes Heights, for instance, is in the middle of such a fight as we speak. Their white neighbors in Roland Park want to cut them out of the picture, so to speak. In 2022, a historic Black community founded by Grandison Hoes in the early 1800s is being denied access to a road they’ve shared for over a hundred years all because there are those in Roland Park who are still stuck in the mindset of Baltimore Mayor J. Barry Mahool (1907-1911). He is affectionately known as ‘the father of segregation’ because an ordinance was pushed in 1910 where Blacks could not move into white neighborhoods and whites could not move into Black neighborhoods. This practice was then replicated nationally.
My point is that halting the racial violence that this country was built on and preventing the mass school and nite club shootings is important, no doubt. So too is dismantling the covert hatred in our courtrooms, lending institutions, the insurance industry, the mortgage industry, corporate America overall, and let’s not forget in our government.
Yes, Baltimore has a Black mayor, but when the people making key decisions in a 62.3% Black city are mostly white, then we have decision-makers who are not necessarily culturally sensitive enough to properly understand and effectively serve the needs, mores, values, and opinions of those, let’s say, in Historic West Baltimore.
When “Best Practices” are ignorant and devoid of grounded and Afrocentric Black planners at the table, you are once again trying to apply unreasonable standards to a situation without fully considering the wishes of the people in that community. You’re essentially telling them that their way of life is wrong and that you know what is best. And for me, this is violence, too. Subtle, but effective. This is but one example of the covert attacks on Black communities in America.
In any event, I love where the Biden-Harris administration is going. And to finally get to meet Susan Rice was truly an honor; I’ve admired her strength since the Obama administration.
The truth is that we, as a nation, must return to sanity. Trump upset the entire apple cart with his reckless and foolish behavior from the onset. Now that we have moved past that (generally speaking), Thursday’s presentation was a staunch reminder that love can indeed defeat hate – no matter how insidious the culprits. Forgiveness was espoused.
I had to ask myself can I forgive America for the way it’s treated my people? I concluded that I can, but when you keep doing the same things over and over to hurt my people, no, forgiveness is not the first thing that comes to mind. I, like this nation, have a lot to learn.
Nonetheless, if you didn’t feel the pain of the people in that room on Thursday, then that’s not only un-American; it’s inhumane.