"As for Smith, his failed struggle to lead Dionay off the streets exposed for him the boundaries of any individual’s influence against the awesome power of poverty and social dysfunction." Luke Mullins, The Atlantic
There are too many of us who wonder how we could have saved our family members who fell prey to the pervasive violence that surrounds us here in Baltimore.
Often, as a member of the Thriving Communities Collaborative, I've talked about trauma as the biggest public health threat facing our communities, but when you live in one of "the" zip codes in Baltimore, the violence feels inescapable. When you can't save the people you love from being the perpetrators or victims of violence it can be numbing. It's difficult to believe that there is a solution, but there is. Knowledge is power, and we can't stop fighting for the people we love. This story, from the Atlantic, is another Baltimore story, there are thousands of them. We have to demand systemic change, at every level. We have to continue to raise awareness of how we build resilience, how we build connections, how we don't traumatize, how we don't re-traumatize... all at the same time that we fight for change.
As individuals our power is limited, as a collective, it is unbounded.
It was an early Sunday evening, July 2, 2017, and T. J. Smith, the chief spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, wanted a plate of Maryland crabs. He plunked half a bushel onto the kitchen counter of his suburban home and began pulling ingredients from his cabinets and refrigerator. He let the crabs steam until their shells turned the color of fire. But before he could eat, Smith had to run two errands. He slid a dozen crabs into a brown paper bag for his mother, collected his 5-year-old son, and hopped into his police-issued Ford Explorer.
The sun was drawing down over the Northwest Expressway, and as Smith cruised south, he felt a rare lightness of spirit. The past two days had been quiet. On Friday, he’d said goodbye to a top homicide commander with what had become their signature sign-off: “I hope you have a fantastic weekend and I don’t have to talk to you.” Unlike during most 48-hour stretches in Baltimore, this weekend there had been no murders requiring the pair to coordinate. The following morning he would begin a 10-day vacation. [Read More]