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Hold on or Fight on?: Perspectives on the Baltimore Protest

Every set of eyes sees things in this world differently. Two people can look at the same exact sunset yet, when you ask them to describe it, you will get two completely different answers. One may focus on the brilliant colors streaming across the sky, while the other speaks about how the shape of the clouds reminds him of a story he had once heard as a child.

The same holds true for the events taking place in Baltimore. April 25th will forever remain a part of American history. As the Gray family mourned the loss of 25 year-old Freddy, anger and frustration filled the hearts of many within the city. Tensions mounted and violence erupted in the form of protests, riots, looting, and destruction of property; eerily similar to the events in Ferguson, MO just eight months ago. But if you take a closer look, past the rocks being thrown and the SWAT teams, you’ll see a different picture; one of peace and hope. You’ll see the same anger and the same frustration, just a different reaction to it, a different choice being made.

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You can get all of the details on the evening news, we all know that. I wanted to bring a different perspective to the table; one that represents the voice of the people. I took to social media and did my research, reaching out to countless people who were all moved by the events in Baltimore. What I found may surprise you.

 ALL LIVES MATTER 

Tara is a 30 year-old registered nurse from Baltimore who tweeted:

“What’s going on in Baltimore right now is disgusting. It’s one thing to protest, it’s another to engage in senseless violence and looting.” 

Tara offered her insight into what she saw going on around her in what she affectionately referred to as her city.

“I never thought I would see so much change, so much hate, so much racism and so much ignorance in this country. This issue, is part of a larger picture; it’s larger than just #blacklivesmatter or #alllivesmatter.” Tara continues, “We all need to unite as Americans to take back control of our country and find justice for where it is due and move forward united as one. Tonight I tweeted “alllivesmatter” in hopes to be a glimmer of light in all the darkness that is blanketing social media. All of these lives, be it police officers, protesters, firefighters and even rioters are all neighbors, all of them, they all matter.”

IT’S MORE THAN THE VIOLENCE


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Derrick Childs from Cleveland, Ohio  shared his thoughts on the undertone of the riots.

“This is the problem. You have numerous cities erupting because of years of silence. Just accepting anything they want to  give you and any way they want to treat you when we are sending billions of dollars to other countries and bailing out industries. What about the poor people? What about the education for the next generations? I see all types of races involved,” Derrick expressed passionately, ” It’s easy to voice your opinion when you haven’t walked one hour in their shoes. Unfortunately, they only listen when people get violent. It may not be right, however, this is what you get when you continually oppress people and then lift up other people. I don’t necessarily agree with their tactics, but I surely understand what it is to be oppressed. Been there. Oh by the way, should we just sit by and just watch the police just kill our youth off?”

Tara and Derrick’s opinions represent those of countless others on both sides of this debate. A consistent theme I saw in many of the opinions expressed was an over-all concern for our children and the impact that these social issues are having on them. What would it mean for our children to see these events unfold and witness their community not react in some way? What message would that be sending them? But maybe a better question would be, what example do we want to send our children about how they should react to these issues? Do we want to condone violence or do we want to teach them to communicate their concerns in a peaceful manner? This is our legacy. This is our opportunity to promote change in the world.

DARKNESS DOES NOT DRIVE OUT DARKNESS

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Eric Curry, a former reporter from ABC WTVD-TV in Raleigh, NC shared his thoughts on what he feels is the correct move to have your voice heard.

“While I support the right for citizens to voice their concerns in an open forum, the demand for justice must be met with patience and the respect for due process. Without that, there will never be a free America that protects all Americans.”

Leah Balter, a sophomore attending Baltimore City College, wrote a thought-provoking piece that was published in The Baltimore Sun. In it, she shares her experiences marching with a student activist group called City Bloc.

“I felt that my voice had been empowered as a youth in Baltimore City speaking out against injustice.” When she heard that violence had broken out in her city, she says, “The voice that I had projected for the entire day and the dedication that so many Baltimore citizens had put into peaceful protests was crushed in an instant.” According to her op-ed piece Balter feels that the media places emphasis on the violence, the looting and the flag burning, because “…it is what the media chose to portray-the media that consumers bewilderingly seem to want.” cops Such a multifaceted, complicated situation for the human race to wrap its mind around, isn’t it? We have seen similar events unfold in our country’s history; people taking to the streets to march for equality and freedom.  We’ve heard Dr. Martin Luther King preach about his dream that one day we would live in a country that was free of racism, hatred, and bigotry where neighbors would treat each other respectfully, lovingly, kindly, gently. It is up to us to work together, not as the black race or the white race, but as the human race to find a peaceful solution that binds this country together rather than tearing it apart. I believe that one day Dr. King’s dream can become a reality, but it is up to us, all of us, to commit to working together. We need to approach these issues with compassion and understanding. There is no room for hatred or racism in this country . What can you do to bring peace to your home, your community, your state, your country? In the end, the solution begins in the hearts of each and every one  of us. What choice are you going to make? How are you going to create change in your world today?

(Video titled Freddie Gray Protest in Baltimore Heating Up With Violence Dude Tries To Keep The Peace)

 

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Teresa Warner is a book junkie and self-proclaimed pun master. Always one for a good play on words, Teresa has been writing since she was 12 years old. She enjoys creating thought-provoking pieces that ask the tough questions but also loves a bit of light-hearted humor. Growing up as the youngest in a large family, Teresa used writing as a way to set herself apart from others. A wife and mother of 7, Teresa enjoys spending time with her family and encouraging others to reach for their dreams. Teresa is a graduate of The University of Toledo and holds a bachelors degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Cardiac Rehabilitation. She works from home as a freelance writer and virtual assistant. To learn more about Teresa and her work, visit her website at http://teresawarner.com.

2 Comments

  1. ChooseyBeggar

    May 2, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    I’m a survivor of the ’60s. Demonstrations can get rough. I learned survival because I didn’t see the point in getting killed or maimed just so somebody would notice some “authorities” did it. We already knew they did it. I also know that other people kill and maim people. These latter folks aren’t so easy to identify. And guess who’s deterring the people in the latter group? Some of the folks in the first group! Life is not so simple, folks! People need to be held accountable when killing gets so easy, but the blame rests on the games people play. If you want folks to respect life, don’t don’t teach people to play when someone’s got a gun or whatever so they can place blame later.

    • Teresa Warner

      May 3, 2015 at 5:34 am

      “People need to be held accountable when killing gets so easy…” This line really hit me like a ton of bricks! Thank you so much for sharing your insight. I truly appreciate hearing from someone who survived the violence in the 60’s and can truly relate, compare, and contrast it to our society today. It’s quite a valuable point of view.

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