When you have community members who are tired of the senseless killing in their city, you also get a group of passionate folks willing to make an effort for peace.
As of August 2017, Baltimore City has more than 195 homicides. Erricka Bridgeford and her team of organizers are planning a murder-free weekend, urging folks not to kill.
Via The Baltimore Sun:
Bridgeford and other neighborhood leaders are drumming up support for a three-day ceasefire the first weekend of August to quell Baltimore’s violence. She admits that such peace is a tall order for a city that’s seen 188 killings this year.
Organizers aim to stop the shooting from Friday, Aug. 4, through Sunday, Aug. 6, with a unified and blunt message: “Nobody kill anybody.”
Their message has been printed on T-shirts and flyers. They designed a website and held community meetings. More than 1,600 people visited their Facebook page. The grass-roots campaign has swelled since it began in May.
“I’ve seen the momentum build over the past several weeks,” said T.J. Smith, spokesman for Baltimore police. “We are all in this together, and we’re 1,000 percent supportive of the efforts.”
The campaign urges people to put aside their guns and join weekend events for healing, from a peace rally Friday evening to a vigil Sunday where participants will read the names of every person killed in 2017.
“The Baltimore Ceasefire was not declared by any one organization,” organizers wrote on their website. “This ceasefire is the product of Baltimore residents not only being exhausted by homicides but believing that Baltimore can have a murder-free weekend if everyone takes responsibility.”
More than 600 people have pledged to keep the peace, they wrote. Among them are some of the young men Bridgeford has met on the corners.
“You just talk to them like they’re your little brother,” she said.
A professional mediator, neighborhood volunteer and part-time Uber driver — “Everyone who gets in my car leave with a flyer and a speech” — Bridgeford says her younger brother was gunned down a decade ago in Southwest Baltimore. His killer was never caught.
It’s so refreshing to see a community come together for an important cause. The Ceasefire organization sets a wonderful example for other cities troubled by record-breaking killings. Despite the courageous responsibility these organizers have taken, there are a few who question why they’re calling for peace for only 72 hours. My response…It takes a person with an optimistic viewpoint to understand that the call for peace doesn’t have to end after 72 hours. We as a community have the power to prolong peace if we truly want it.
Watch video below of Erricka Bridgeford’s interview with Eze Jackson of ‘The Real News Network’.
In the next video, Erricka answers the most common questions that folks have about Baltimore Ceasefire.