The city’s eruption follows decades of systemic failure. Photograph by Devin Allen
TIME Magazine revealed their latest cover, a chilling image of the Baltimore Uprising (their Instagram says “Riots”), comparing it to the protests of 1968, following Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s assassination. Baltimore erupted in violent protests and their residents looted almost 1,000 local businesses. Six people died and 700 people were injured.
Baltimore’s latest uprising has been far less violent following the untimely death of Freddie Gray, whose spine was allegedly broken while under police custody. The unclear details have caused outrage in the people of Baltimore. There have been cars set on fire, stores looted and some protestors have thrown bricks, rocks and bottles at police officers. As of now, Baltimore’s protestors have calmed down, but there’s still plenty of demands for justice.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the city has paid out nearly $6 million in settlements to more than 100 victims of police brutality in the four years from 2011 through 2014. The victims were surprisingly not all Black men. Some of the victims included a 26-year-old pregnant woman and an 87-year-old grandmother. A man named Jeffrey Alston was paralyzed from the neck down after a violent encounter with Baltimore police. Dondi Johnson Sr. died two weeks after sustaining a spinal injury while under police custody. Something is wrong in Baltimore.
The world has banned together in protest to be rid of the systematic racism that continues to oppress minorities while repeatedly letting us know that our lives don’t matter. The eerie comparisons of the plight of Black people to yesteryear’s fight for basic rights to be treated like a human being is disheartening. You’d think we’ve come so far, but we just keep seeing examples of the cyclical display of racism in America spinning out of control.
“We never really recovered from the riots of 1968,” Baltimore City Council president Jack Young told Time. “Our infrastructure was destroyed: butcher shops, clothing stores, supermarkets, all destroyed for one reason or another.” Proof enough that Baltimore is a city that’s built on a shaky foundation with undertones of a racial divide that never got a resolve. So when its residents cry out with such passion, it shouldn’t be a surprise. This has been a long time coming. We appreciate TIME for tackling a cover that’s here for conversation and perhaps a plan for real change in our country.
Here’s our favorite part of the TIME cover story:
But if the peace holds in Baltimore, it will not be because of outside intervention. Rather, the solution will have come from within. For every rioter, the city’s neighborhoods produced more men willing to lock arms to form a buffer between demonstrators and police, more teenagers willing to sweep sidewalks clean of broken glass. In one indelible image, a mother took her rampant son by the ear and hauled him home. When police cited reports that gangs were threatening to kill cops, members of the rival Crips and Bloods answered by calling for peace. “We don’t want nobody to get hurt,” a self-professed gang member told a reporter for the Sun.
The men and women who leaped to defend and repair their neighborhoods are the agents of hope that Baltimore so desperately needs, and theirs is the energy that might be harnessed to meet the daunting challenge of what comes next.