One of the goals of the Baltimore Ceasefire, which concluded this past weekend was for no murders to happen during the 72 hour span from Aug. 4 to Aug. 6. We fell short of that goal because there were two homicides on Aug. 5.
However, Erricka Bridgeford, one of the movement’s main organizers gave the violence that occurred during the Ceasefire perspective in a Facebook post. “41 hours of peace from Friday-Saturday+26 hours of peace Saturday-Sunday=67 of 72 hours without murder,” she wrote. Further, one of the other main organizers of the Ceasefire, Ellen Gee calculated that Baltimore has averaged a murder about every 19.5 hours in 2017, a staggering number.
Yet, there have been news outlets (‘Nobody Kill Anybody’ weekend ceasefire collapses as two are shot dead,” was the headline in the London based Daily Mail), and individuals who have suggested the Ceasefire was a “failure.” In fact, there were trolls on social media who hoped people would be killed in the days leading up to the Ceasefire.
What shall we then say to these people?’ to paraphrase Romans 8:31.
We should mourn the tragedy of two more young, Black men, Lamontrey Tynes, 24, and Donte Johnson, 37, who were gunned down on Aug. 5 They were the 210th and 211th victims of homicide in 2017, within the 72 hour window of the Ceasefire (the Ceasefire movement is actually raising money for the families of the victims to help pay for funeral arrangements).
However, the argument that the Baltimore Ceasefire movement was a failure because two people were killed in 72 hours, is flat out stupid and petty.
“The goal was 72 hours, no murder and the goal also was to raise the vibration of the energy in Baltimore City, to spread love…to plug people into the resources they need, to create space for people to have conversations about things that they thought about people that weren’t necessarily true,” said Gee. “So, doing outreach in Baltimore City helped to bridge a lot of communication gaps. It helped to show people that people in Baltimore City, they’re not just thugs…they’re human beings,” she added.
Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), the Baltimore based Black, grass roots think tank engaged people directly on the streets of East and West Baltimore during the Ceasefire.
“Friday night we were on the Eastside at Belair and Erdman and we stayed out all night, and we had food available for people…and we had lawyers, human and social service workers and the goal was to make sure that people could get their records expunged and…we were trying to show communities there are Black people here in Baltimore that are working on your behalf, that can assist you with changing your condition,” said Adam Jackson, CEO of LBS.
“Saturday, we were at Frederick and Collins on the Westside. In the course of the time that we were there, because we spent from 6 p.m to 6 a.m., so, 12 hours each day…through the early morning…I think about 170 people total were able to get their records expunged,” Jackson explained.
“It was about embracing anti-violence and also uplifting the spirit….and changing the vibration and lifting the vibrations of Baltimore. And I know for me personally…if you were at Belair and Erdman at midnight, that Friday it was electric,” Jackson added.
“Because everyone was just like, we were talking about anti-violence and how in 24 hours there were no murders and everyone was just so hyped off of that. And embracing the idea that that’s not normal, murder is not normal and we should feel okay to express that we want to stop it…it’s not normal to embrace violence.”
“You had people coming from East Baltimore to Edmondson and Wildwood (in West Baltimore) Friday night for the Stop the Violence rally, and how often does that happen in Baltimore?” said Gee. “And it was all love…at the height of the rally there were probably about 45 people with Ceasefire signs…and created like a party on the corner of Edmondson and Wildwood in the name of stopping the violence,” she added.
“And for people to try to downplay that, or to minimize it and make it seem like, `that’s not a big deal,’ I don’t want to say I feel sorry for them, but I wish that they had the ability to see the vision and see the glory of it the way that we do. Because it is a beautiful thing to witness.”
Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and host and executive producer of First Edition, which airs Monday through Friday, 5 p.m.-7 p.m. on WEAA, 88.9.