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Monday, December 15, 2014

Important Sun article to read

       It is hard not to picture life in many neighborhoods of Baltimore as it's often portrayed as a violent city.  The Wire, Homicide and the recent podcast Serial show the side of Baltimore that is a daily reality of many of the City's children. Yesterday's Sun article on the impact of the violence on young children was important in understanding the challenges that the city faces in changing the future of the city.  The impacts on family life in Baltimore has already seen a couple of generations of dysfunction. Tomorrow's city problems may already be developing as Baltimore's children are paying the price for being exposed to drugs and crime.
       For those of us living our middle to upper middle class suburban lives the realities faced by children in Baltimore may seem like a world away.  Years ago that world and its impact on children was brought home to me on a trip into Baltimore to take one of our teen age foster daughters to a weekend visit with her aunt.  The aunt lived in Southwest Baltimore not too far off of Washington Blvd.  As we drove to her aunt's home she casually mentioned that an uncle had been stabbed in front of a convenience store we passed and that her mother had been arrested in front of another building for selling heroin.  At one intersection there was a pair of shoes over the utility line.  This is a way that someone is memorialized that has been killed at that point. The casualness of her descriptions of these events gave me pause.  I can't think of anyone I have ever known that has been stabbed or arrested for selling heroin.  Maybe these life events could be an explanation for why my foster daughter lived with a heightened sense of danger.  Events or the actions of others that I saw as normal or innocent she saw as threatening and in need of an aggressive action on her part.  My middle class discussions about how to use words instead of fists or how to deescalate a situation seemed so naive to her.  I can remember her saying that no one could "disrespect" her and get away with it.  These types of actions may have been common in her Baltimore neighborhood but they were always a problem in our neighborhood Columbia school.
      Here is a link to the article.

    More on the podcast called  "Serial" about a murder in Baltimore tomorrow.

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