At the risk of being self-indulgent, here goes: I don’t live in Baltimore anymore, though I miss it and our community there quite fiercely. At this one-year mark of the events that centered around the neighborhood Maggie and I lived in for 6 years and will always love, I’m reposting below several articles I wrote before and after. There are many other good things written at the time which I tried to link generously to therein, and you should follow these links.
A few things have changed and I look forward to seeing how people who are willing to learn from the past might change the future of Sandtown and places like it. The people who were committed to Sandtown long before it became newsworthy are still there and still doing the long, slow, grueling work of rebuilding foundations. They’ll keep working as long as they can and they still need prayers, support, love, and fellow travelers. I wrote these things mostly to help communicate their perspectives and wisdom, which have shaped me in ways that I am still trying to discern.
Faith, Fatalism, and Freddie Gray– A broader historical take that looks at the role the church can play in healing the wounds caused by civic neglect and structural racism.
Run Towards The Pain– This essay focuses on the role of minor leaders in mediating the work of community advocates who have remained or returned to struggling neighborhoods.
The Need For Neighbors– Perhaps more relevant now than it was then, as efforts to “revitalize” have multiplied, this piece discusses the importance of knowing and caring for one another as neighbors willing to bear risk together.
From Reaction to Action– City Paper was kind to publish this “Op-Alt”, with a lot of specific suggestions for community organizations and churches doing good work in Sandtown.
Let Sandtown Speak For Itself– I found too many opinions about Sandtown last year were assuming a fairly monolithic “voice of the community”, so I tried to highlight some different voices.
The Policing Baltimore Needs– I doubt this piece had anything to do with it, but I’m happy to say that many of the suggestions here have gained some traction in the past year. We’ll see how they work out in the years to come.
Is Black Lives Matter Overblown?– I took on more about policing and how we might think about a more positive construction for how to fight for public safety in tough places.
Why Bernie Sanders Shouldn’t Call Baltimore “Third World”– More on the struggles of universalizing particular narratives in regards to Baltimore neighborhoods.