Where Do We Go From Here?

Posted by Al Hathaway Friday, July 31, 2015

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. coined this title when asked the question regarding the Civil Rights struggle, "where do we go from here."

 This question is very relevant in Baltimore given the events of April 27, 2015. When a major distrubance erupted and 400+ business were looted and burned, 175+ police officers were injured, over 300 people arrested, and more than $50 million in property was damaged. Baltimore received a black eye as a result of the international, nation and local media coverage. In many ways this distrubance highlighted the effects of many years of instutitional and structual racism, disinvestment in certain neigborhoods, and benign neglect on the part of many to the conditions that were breeding disfunctional men, women and children. Study after study was identifying the effects, but very few were facing up to the sources of the problem. Mountains of bandaids have being used without any diagnosis for treatment and a cure.

Maybe after the Freddie Gray distrubance, it is time to hit the reset button.

We have many assets within out city with amazing capital and human resources. Maybe its time for government to get out of the way and listen to the institutions and individuals who make up the City in determining, where do we go from here?

Our City is home to the 7th per capital largest urban city that houses colleges and university. We have no shortage of intellectual talent. We have research capacity that is second to very few cities. We have world class medical instutions that have on its staff some of the world's outstanding physicians. Clearly the wherewithal is here to solve the health care disparities that is adversely affecting our community and the improve the education outcomes of our local residents.

Ponder this thought, UnderArmor is a 15 year old business that was developed within this community and it is now a billion dollar world wide enterprise. Clearly the business acumen is here to develop, sustain, and grow enterprises. Circling over our economy is old money because Maryland was one of the thirteen colonies. We have access to capital, unforunately the distribution is inequitable, and the wealth gap is widening.

Baltimore is home to the great religious movements in America: Roman Catholism and Methodism. We are also home to the second largest Jewish community outside of New York. A.M.E., A.M.E. Zion and the African American Baptist Movement all have strong roots within this community. The Greek Orthodox movement and many other faith movements are located within our boundaries. There should be no lack of spirituality to lead us out of this malise.

What's missing? Trust, common values and vision are key ingrediants needed for progress and transparency. Shared leadership is necessary to propel us to another level.

If the population of Baltimore City is around 600,000, we need the active participation and consultation of more than 60,000 people to turn as Congressman Cummings would say, "this moment into a movement."


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