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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

R.I.P., Freddie Gray

Living and working in Baltimore over the past 6 years, I have really come to enjoy the city - the people and the place. I enjoy the strong sense of community my multiracial neighborhood gives me with some households having been there across multiple generations.

Freddie Gray's brutal death at the hands of the police reminded me of how tenuous that harmony can be. I have seen what many commentators have already expressed: the social fabric of Baltimore was already thin, frayed from a long history of injustice and never really mended in a meaningful way.

This injustice stems from the political and wealth elites' dual economy model, which separates the haves from the have nots into two separate and unequal communities. This model, intentional or not, is racist at its core. It systematically excludes the majority of city residents from equitable access to economic opportunities, public resources and political decision-making, making a mockery of any pretense of a "free market" or democracy.

It is no surprise then to see how many in this city responded to Freddie Gray's tragic death, because it came on top of any number of other similar incidents, many of which they or their families have experienced directly. We need a more intentional effort to restore bonds between all people in this city, across racial and class lines. It is only when we recognize that our individual well-being is connected an interdependent with that of our fellows that we'll maybe then be able to enjoy a just peace.

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