Baltimore Must Listen to our #BLM Activists

Words seem inadequate when such horrific acts of racially charged violence are happening all over our country. 

In the wake of the killing of Alton Sterling and then Philando Castile, I think it’s important for white people like me to echo the voices of the #BLM movement. So that’s what I've done. I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing talented people over at LBS, the Baltimore Block and other locals that I consider BLM leaders even if these peoples and groups choose to identify independently of that label.

I echo their calls for police reform. As a white ally I have to say how disgusted I am with the lack of leadership and simple deafening silence on these issues that I hear from our law makers in Annapolis, City Council, and our Mayor. Baltimore doesn’t need your thoughts and prayers and feelings. BALTIMORE NEEDS YOU TO STEP UP AS LEADERS AND DO YOUR JOB!

We need civilians on police trial boards. We now have a powerful coalition of activists, organizers, astute aspiring political leaders all calling for this important reform that should in no way be controversial.

We also need leaders that will stop cowering in the face of the FOP. I’ve toured Baltimore Police Stations and I’ve talked to officers in our community.

Police officers want decent facilities that are clean and filled with the latest in policing technology. Instead they have dated computer systems, a lack of technical support, and facilities that are ancient. 

Police officers need excellent health insurance and a lot of time off for healing from a very physical job. I met a young officer who sorely injured his back during the uprising protests. I told him what I would tell any worker in Baltimore. You need to fight HR and get yourself the paid time off and medical treatment you need.

But the FOP doesn’t grandstand and make a stink for the health of the average police officer. Instead they fight civilians who are genuinely interested in working with the police to make Baltimore a better place.

The events in Dallas clearly show us that we have a lot of work to do in this country when it comes to race relations. It also reminds us that being a police officer is a dangerous job. But I will not let the FOP scare me into playing along with the idea that BPD should be siloed off from the community it serves. Bringing civilians into trial boards and other corners of the BPD will help heal the relationship between BPD and the community. It will make us a more cohesive community. And I think the FOP should be far more concerned with the health of the average officer on the street instead of childishly insulting prosecutors who are doing their job or stopping concerned civilians from getting involved with the department.