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Reflections on Baltimore, my hometown

Reflections on Baltimore, my hometown

The Union of Black Episcopalians has posted “Reflections on Baltimore, my hometown” by the Rev. Dr. Canon Sandye Wilson. An excerpt:

People are sick and tired of being sick and tired, as this war on Black men in our society continues. People are tired of having their appeals for attention to injustice ignored, of blatant disregard of their legitimate concerns. People are tired of the continuous escalating expression of racism all around them.


We pray for the lives lost, businesses destroyed and dreams deferred. We pray for all who live in fear. We give thanks for the leadership of Baltimore City, for those with enough moral courage to speak truth to power, for law enforcement officials who did show restraint. We are grateful for the men of the community, the ministers and the members of the Nation of Islam who stood together to help bring order to the neighborhoods.

We give thanks for allies and all who care about the city where I was born and ALL of its citizens.

May the God of peace help us to find peace again. There will be no peace in the world until there is peace in the nation; no peace in the nation until there is peace in the community; no peace in the community until there is peace in the family and no peace in the family until there is peace within each of us.

Read it all. You can follow UBE on Facebook.

Posted by John B. Chilton


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Philip. B Spivey

Canon Wilson—thank you— and earlier today, Bishop Sutton on Religion & Ethic, echo the pain of Sandtown and all the “Sandtowns” in the United States. I live in New York City; we have our own Sandtowns here.

As a child of 60s, I’m keenly aware of having been at this place before: Having our eyes opened by horrific police dog videos in the 50s; great beating-of chests about the oppression, deprivation and poverty in our Black communities; efforts at policy changes at the highest levels of government and now…a half-century later, for many Black people in poverty and deprivation who have been denied any opportunity to realize the American dream, nothing has changed. (The naysayers think that this is due to the inherent corruption and immorality of Black culture; a classic instance of blaming the victim).

Personally, I’m not hopeful that policing will ever be “color blind”: The tradition of policing in communities of color is steeped not only in widespread personal prejudice, but a criminal justice system riddled with white supremacist members and assumptions. For many generations, that Blue Wall of Silence has shielded members of the Ku Klux Klan. I have no doubt that is still true in many of our cities and towns. Even so, we know that the police are not the cause of joblessness; poverty; inadequate housing; poor diets; failing schools and inadequate health care. The police did not cause these things, but many police officers believe that their mission is to punish the victims of social and economic injustice–especially Black men. And this problem does not lie exclusively with police cultures. Rather, the problem is structural.

The best examples I know of how best-intention-efforts can subvert true justice are the structural changes that were made nation-wide following the Brown vs. The Board of Ed decision 60 years ago: the so called relief for separate-but-equal was to integrate white schools, presumably where the greatest resources could be had. It was called “integration”. At that time, no one would take seriously a more profound and just remedy for decades of discrimination — instead of busing Black children to white schools (which white folks and some Black folks objected to) why not direct all the necessary resources to the Black schools and communities and have them operate on par with the white schools.

That’s the challenge we face today. We don’t need a Kumbayah with police departments, but a change in the very structure of how resources and justice are meted out, including holding police officers accountable for their behavior. That’s where our focus, energy and activism needs to be.

Is downtown Baltimore viewed as more valued and valuable than Sandtown? All the numbers streaming out of Baltimore this week suggest that it is.

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