300 Men March: Baltimore Youth March Against Violence

“You need to have a rally in your own living room! Have a rally in your own kitchen! You need to have an occupy my house rally! That’s what you need!” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka

300-man-march-baltimore_1_660xThe Baltimore Sun reports that:

Striding backwards at the head of about 40 men and boys who had walked 29 miles from Baltimore and had more than a half-dozen to go under the scorching summer sun Monday morning, Munir Bahar focused his gaze on the line of five boys at the front.

They had linked their arms around each other’s shoulders in an expression of solidarity to propel them forward through the pain.

Each was a member of Bahar’s Youth COR, which is tapping young people to serve as community ambassadors in the wake of the unrest after the death of Freddie Gray in April and the unprecedented spate of homicides across the city since…

Their journey from Baltimore to Washington was part of an effort by Bahar and his 300 Men March organization to shine a national spotlight on the group’s anti-violence work at a time when the killing in Baltimore is spiraling out of control. The city has seen more than 200 homicides this year, with a spike in recent months that has pushed the count far ahead of last year’s pace.

“We’re just trying to show love,” said Eric Baker, 19. “Love is action. It can actually have a huge impact.”

The 300 Men March puts men who share an “enough is enough” mindset on the streets for regular walks through some of Baltimore’s most violent neighborhoods.

As Bahar sees it, with the right resources, the model could be scaled up across the city.

Bahar intended the 35-mile march from Baltimore to Washington on Sunday and Monday to draw attention to the program and the “Emergency Operating Plan” he has created as a pitch to potential donors.

Despite assertions to the contrary, black people regularly protest against inner city violence. We hold countless prayer vigils for young men and women gone too soon. The courageous work of the 300 Men March is just one of many examples. I commend those brothers for their bold commitment to peace and decency. I hope that the group receives many donations to fund their important work.

We must save our communities from self-destruction. To paraphrase Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, we need to rally in our own homes. We must ensure that our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters are not entangled in this sick culture of death and mayhem. As my imam says, this is “our community and our responsibility.”  We must rally against benign neglect, poverty, failing schools and unemployment as well. Those problems fuel the violence.

Lastly, we must hold our elected officials accountable for failing to adequately address the out-of-control carnage in Baltimore. We must march to the polls and vote out the politicians who have failed us. We must elect politicians actually have concrete and viable plans to improve Baltimore.

[Originally posted at New Possibilities]