Daily life in Baltimore is defined by profound inequality and chronic systemic injustice, but it took a riot to get our attention.
Baltimore is not unique. At our own peril do we dismiss Springfield’s pre-civil rights levels of inequality as the result of irresponsible parents, young people with character deficits, and an issue of individual responsibility generally.
We must challenge ourselves morally and intellectually to look beyond the conspicuous symptoms of oppression to identify and transform the political and physical infrastructure that are the root causes. What does that look like? Independent police data analysis, transparent and civilian police review board, nonpartisan voter engagement in egregiously underrepresented communities, and regular performance reporting of student achievement, health outcomes, voter participation, incarceration, environmental conditions, all cross referenced by race and income. Just to mention a few possible strategies.
No one said it would be easy. But this is our work.
This evening’s discussion with Police Commissioner Barbieri, sponsored by AWAKE and hosted by State Representative Benjamin Swan and City Councilor Bud Williams, is urgent and we are hopeful the discussion will go beyond Band-aids. (Date: TONIGHT, Wed, April 29th at 5:30pm, Location: Rebecca Johnson School, 55 Catherine St., Springfield)