By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, [email protected]
Even as Baltimore was tagged as, “the nation’s most dangerous city,” by USA Today back in February, what the nation wasn’t aware of was our city was in the midst of its fourth consecutive month of decreases in crime across the board for the first time in several years, according to Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.
On February 2, during the last Baltimore Ceasefire weekend, not only were there no murders, but the Ceasefire ushered in almost two weeks without a shooting death in Baltimore.
Clearly, that many consecutive days without a homicide had not happened here in the last three years at least. For the first time in a long time there was cautious optimism among some that perhaps we had turned a corner on violence, with more decreases (compared to the last three years) registered in March.
But, then came April.
With 32 homicides in the month, Baltimore was back to its murderous ways. And in May, among the seven murdered in the first eight days of the month two were teens. An unidentified (at AFRO press time) 16-year old was gunned down on a basketball court on May 8, the 99th homicide victim of 2018. Three days earlier on May 5, the murder of Ray Antwone Glasgow, III sent shockwaves through several communities.
Glasgow 17, a standout student athlete (he played football and lacrosse) at Baltimore City College High School, has been described as, `the epitome of a good kid.’ By all accounts Glasgow was not a part of the nefarious street life that has claimed so many lives in this city. In a post dated June 27, 2017, Glasgow wrote, “Rather make regular money, than popular money, that’s why I sit in class.”
Baltimore police believe Glasgow’s murder was a case of mistaken identity.
“There were four occupants in that vehicle, at this point we don’t think any of the occupants of that vehicle were intended targets,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa, who attended the division A championship lacrosse game, along with Mayor Pugh, between City and Mervo on May 7.
“Detectives have been working on this case since Saturday (May 5), and have yet to stop,” added De Sousa.
As the city sits at the brink of 100 homicides on May 9, after more than a month long spike in homicides and violence, once again our city is in desperate need of a Ceasefire, a breather from murder and mayhem when `nobody kills anybody.’
“All other Ceasefire weekends were scheduled to occur during the first weekend of the month. We consciously decided to move the May Ceasefire weekend to fall on Mother’s Day to acknowledge parents (mothers and fathers), brothers, sisters, and loved ones who lost people,” said Letrice Gant, one of the founding organizers of Baltimore Ceasefire 365.
“We asked people to consider and support fathers specifically this Ceasefire since they are equally impacted, but less likely to be as publicly vocal as mothers,” added Gant.
Since its organic beginnings last August, Ceasefire continues to gain momentum; the outreach has grown more expansive and the number of people and organizations volunteering services beyond the weekend activities, (including legal services), continues to increase. Perhaps, most importantly, each of the Ceasefire weekends have been less violent than the previous one.
The goals are the same. Create life-affirming events, help people to get the resources that they need, put the unity back in the community and avoid violence to save lives,” said Gant.
Sean Yoes is the Baltimore AFRO editor and host and executive producer of the AFRO First Edition video podcast, which airs on Monday and Friday at 5 p.m., on the AFRO’s Facebook page.