A series of articles and information that present a deep, nuanced understanding of the ongoing protests and unrest in Baltimore, MD.

This week, America has been processing the ongoing protests in Baltimore and what the unrest might mean for that city, and for our country. As our CEO, Ben Hecht, said in a post earlier this week, the “Baltimore Riots” have “put America’s racial divide front and center in the nation’s consciousness.”

Our staff have been among those reflecting . This week, we’re sharing #GoodReads about the ongoing events that present a different or more nuanced perspective than what’s been discussed in more mainstream media.

Reflecting on Baltimore

In Baltimore, a Cry for Justice for Freddie Gray - By Ericka Blount Danois, Colorlines

This week, Ericka Blount Danois joined hundreds of people who marched and rallied in Baltimore to protest Freddie Gray’s death, and captured the voices of the protests in this eye-opening article.

Recommended by Juan Sebastian Arias, Program Associate, Collective Impact

Is It An ‘Uprising’ Or A ‘Riot’? Depends On Who’s Watching - By Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR Code Switch

The power of language cannot be minimized. Words like “riot” and “thug” signify very different things than words like “uprising” and “patriot.” In a short analysis by NPR, the historical context of these sorts of words suggest that they are used differentially and circumstantially. I am not convinced that characterizing the events as riots leaves us the room to deeply explore the events that motivated the actions in the first place, since it feels more like the mainstream narratives have overwhelming cast attention not upon Freddie Gray, but toward the destruction of property and the perpetrators of this so-called bad behavior.

The Clock Didn’t Start with the Riots - By Ta Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

More on the power of language, why we shouldn’t use the term “riots” and the historical context of violence in Baltimore, by Ta-Nehisi Coates during opening remarks at a Johns Hopkins event:

Recommended by Tiffany Ferguson, Program Associate, Public Sector Innovation

Bloods, Crips and Pie - The Nightly Show

Early on in the unrest in Baltimore, rumors had spread that local gangs had allied to “take out cops.” Larry Wilmore’s interview with members from Baltimore Bloods and Crips suggests the exact opposite. The comments from these insightful young people show how misleading it can be to judge a book by its cover.

Recommended by Tamir Novotny, Senior Associate, Public Sector Innovation

The Brutality of Police Culture in Baltimore

A reminder from The Atlantic that, when it comes to issues of police abuses, we cannot only pay attention when there is a tragic loss of life: In Baltimore, “years of abuses are every bit as egregious as what the Department of Justice documented in Ferguson, Missouri, and as deserving of a national response.”

Recommended by Nadia Owusu, Assistant Director, Strategic Communications & Storytelling

Responses from Baltimore-based Philanthropic and Community-Based Organizations

Some of Baltimore’s prominent philanthropic and community-based organizations have come out this week with statements in response to events in Baltimore. Here are a few of them compiled by our colleagues:

Perspectives from Across America

Another Corpse, Another Excuse: Who Has a Right to Be Tired After Walter Scott’s Death? - By Jeb Lund, Rolling Stone

Though not directly related to Baltimore, this article continues to stick as the events of this week unfold. In fact it doesn’t even mention Freddie Gray despite being published the day after his death. It was written after Walter Scott was shot in the back eight times. It is sobering, convincing and almost more relevant this week given it’s only been 10 days and there’s already been another murder. Worth a read as we as a nation confront realities from Ferguson to Baltimore.

Recommended by Eileen Neely, Director of Capital Innovation

With stroke of a pen, long-awaited civilian review board becomes reality in Newark - Dan Ivers, NJ.Com

Living Cities’ belief in a New Urban Practice grounds all of our work, and it essentially asserts a few things: 1) inequality is growing despite our collective best efforts 2) therefore our best efforts aren’t working 3) perhaps we should alter the way we work together, try new things out at a faster pace, and learn all we can in service of sharing with others what works and doesn’t. This is important framing for how I see this week’s move by the City of Newark to establish what some are calling “the country’s most progressive civilian complaint review board” (CCRB). There is fierce debate on all sides about whether the CCRB model will ameliorate long-standing tensions between communities of color and law enforcement (and whether it “works”), but this bold step toward testing and implementing a new type of practice between communities and local law enforcement is something we should all be watching and learning from as it unfolds in real time.

Recommended by Tiffany Ferguson, Program Associate, Public Sector Innovation

Image source: Minneapolis Rally to Support the People of Baltimore by Flickr user Fibonacci Blue. CC by 2.0.