Riots in Baltimore began Monday, the same day as the funeral for Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident and criminal.
Many have used and will use this night and this man’s death as a call to action, as a catalyst to rouse the voices of the unheard. But I fear that the city’s voice earlier this week was all too weak, no matter how community leaders tried to spin it. The 144 vehicle fires, 15 structure fires and hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage far overpowered the voice of united and responsible citizens.
Reactions to the week in Baltimore have nearly run the gamut of human emotional capacity. I feel that I have no place, however, to discuss the necessity of justified anger, to call for a conversation, to try to explain the inhumane treatment of citizens by police and the senseless destruction of the community by citizens: others are doing this already, and there will be much time yet to do so.
In the face of the travesty of the last couple of weeks, especially the death of Gray and the burning of Baltimore, I would rather ask for time: not much time, but just a little quiet time to experience the hatred and sadness that so permeates Baltimore now. As Baltimore burned Monday night, I could do nothing but sit and watch news footage of the destruction; I could do nothing but be sad for my city. I hope that all — police, citizens, leaders — have taken time to internalize and try to come to grips with the magnitude of the events.
We will take action, hopefully rooted in justice and in the direction of destroying systems of violence and oppression. But unless we each individually try to understand, on an emotional level that perhaps we cannot even vocalize, then I fear that we will not break free of the systematic cycle of violence and oppression.