Efforts Towards Building a Safer and Healthier Baltimore

It is no secret that Baltimore is an emerging progressive city with lots of opportunities in store for people living in a cheerful place in Maryland. Dubbed as the Charm City, people in charge, as well as concerned citizens and organizations, are doing their best efforts to make the largest city of Maryland safer, healthier and a much stronger against all odds.

Baltimore Magazine wrote an amazing article about the initiatives to build a safer, stronger, and a healthier Baltimore. Read the article below to learn more.

Building a Safer, Stronger, Healthier Baltimore

Image Source: The Baltimore Magazine

For 34 years, Living Classrooms Foundation has made a measurable dent in seemingly intractable problems.

In the 1990s, Travis Street was growing up in Perkins Homes, Baltimore’s largest public housing community. As a child, Travis says, “I never knew I was poor.” He played with his friends, went to school, and spent a lot of time at the local community center. But when funding cuts closed the center, Travis and his friends were left with no safe outlet for sports, activities, and mentorship.

It was only then that Travis realized he lived in poverty. Over the next decade, he saw his friends get caught up in the violent drug culture that characterized Baltimore at that time and was immortalized on television shows such as Homicide and The Wire, which gave people nationwide a less-than-attractive view of the city. However, Travis was lucky—he had a family and support network that kept him out of trouble, and his experiences led him to understand that his community needed help. He was determined to be a force for change.

Today, Travis works for Baltimore nonprofit Living Classrooms Foundation as Director of Family and Community Engagement out of the UA House at Fayette in Pleasant View Gardens. The UA House is one of four Living Classrooms “community hubs” in East Baltimore that have been established with the goal to disrupt generational poverty through a variety of education, workforce development, and health/violence prevention opportunities.

Many Baltimore neighborhoods still struggle in the shadow of the drug and gang culture that peaked in the 1990s. Following nationwide trends over the past few years, the city has again experienced a rise in homicides and violent crime—with the city’s youth being a particularly threatened demographic, as they become both victims and perpetrators. To combat the many forces that lead youth down the wrong path, Living Classrooms has spent more than three decades working diligently with residents, city leadership, other community organizations, and committed funders to develop solutions to some of Baltimore’s most persistent problems.

One prominent response has been the development of the Target Investment Zone in East Baltimore, a place-based comprehensive strategy aimed at over 40,000 residents in a 2.5-square-mile area that offers holistic Living Classrooms services not only at community hubs, but also through two Early Childhood Centers, a public charter middle school (The Crossroads School), workforce training programs for youth and adults, free health and fitness programs, and violence-prevention programs designed to reduce homicides and shootings through conflict mediation. See full post here…

Organizations like living classrooms are doing their very best in contributing to Baltimore’s overall strength and safety of the city, and this has resulted in positive things over the years. Despite the fact that a lot of Baltimore neighborhoods are still struggling in the shadows. However, over the years people of the city have managed to overcome the chaos and started to live in harmony.

Another interesting story of struggles in Baltimore is in the article written by Dorcas R. Gilmore in Yes! about the previous uprisings in the city that results in a safer and stronger economy. Check out the article below to learn more.

Baltimore After the Uprising: 3 Trends Building a Fairer, Safer, Stronger Economy

Image Courtesy of Arash Azizzada

Because structural problems need structural solutions.

In April of 2015, the streets of Baltimore appeared on the front page of newspapers and other media outlets around the world. The death of an unarmed, Black young man, Freddie Gray, had sparked weeks of peaceful protest in Gilmor Homes, the public housing complex where he lived, and in his neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester. Thousands of people took to the streets to voice their frustration and anger with policing practices.

Structural racism is about the structure of American society.

In the more than six months since the Baltimore Uprising, three important community and economic development trends have accelerated or gained prominence in the public discussion within the region: an explicit discussion of structural inequalities, specifically structural racism; an expanded public dialogue around “security”; and a heightened focus on equitable local and regional economies.

Here are some examples of these three trends:

1. Structural Racism: Naming it, centering it, and engaging in public dialogue about its history and present

Structural racism, as the term implies, is not about individuals, but the structure of American society. It is how many societal institutions work as they were designed to work, and together these institutions create different outcomes based on race.

The life of Freddie Gray is one of too many examples of what structural racism is and how it impacts Black lives from birth to death. Gray lived in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore City. According to the Baltimore Neighborhood Health Profile, a male child born in Sandtown-Winchester has a life expectancy of only 65 years—more than 10 years less than the average for the city. At an early age, Gray was exposed to lead paint poisoning in his home. Sandtown-Winchester has four times the number of lead paint violations than the city average, leading to direct physical and cognitive impacts. Gray experienced academic challenges throughout school and, like many Black youth, found few opportunities for work. Sandtown-Winchester has at least two times the unemployment rate of the rest of the city.

Gray also lived in Gilmor Homes, a public housing complex that is heavily policed, in a community that has more residents in state prison facilities than any other neighborhood in the state. The relationships between residential segregation, substandard housing, health outcomes, schools, jobs, and policing were interwoven in Gray’s life. His life and tragic death are examples of the effects of structural racism. Learn more about this part of history here…

Structural racism is all about building the structure of American society. This part of history contributed a lot especially in cities in Baltimore in terms of their development in modern times.

Lastly is the continuous efforts by various organizations to make Baltimore a safer, healthier and stronger city today. This initiative is lead by Johnny Olszewski and followed by lots of people. More information about this initiative below.

Making a Safer Baltimore County

Image Credits: Johnny Olszewski

Public safety is paramount — and a critical responsibility for those elected to serve. The issue of public safety is also a very personal one for me — my youngest brother serves in the Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD). Anyone who lives and works in Baltimore County deserve safe communities. Providing the appropriate and necessary resources for our police department and first responders will continue to be a priority under an Olszewski administration.

We must also acknowledge and address the at-times strained relationships between police and the communities they serve in our nation. We must commit to ensuring trust with the police department and legitimacy of policing practices. As we affirm the public’s trust in our policing agencies, we also must more meaningfully address the root cause of crimes that exist in Baltimore County and throughout our region today: drug abuse and addiction, lack of opportunity and poverty, to name a few.

Through a renewed focus on community policing, crime-prevention, and data-driven programs, Baltimore County can become a model jurisdiction for public safety. These steps, working in tandem with our focus on education and economic development, will make Baltimore County safer.

In an Olszewski administration, here’s how we will get there:

Recruitment and retention

Baltimore County has steadily increased positions within BCPD over the past number of years, with 2,557 projected for fiscal year 2019. Recruiting and retaining qualified individuals in an increasingly competitive environment, while planning accordingly for vacancies due to retirements, is critical for meeting the needs of our diverse and growing population.

In our effort to create a robust education to employment pipeline in Baltimore County, we will focus on specific strategies to recruit next generation public safety personnel by establishing a partnership program with BCPD’s existing Cadet Program and the Baltimore County Public Schools system — identifying graduates interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement and directly connecting them with our department. This will help promote a diverse BCPD and ensure that these new cadets in the training pipeline have a connection to and relationships across our county.

We will also enact “Live Near Your Work” housing programs in each of the County’s 10 precincts. To create these programs, we will work in collaboration with established community development corporations (CDCs) like the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation and Liberty Community Development Corporation, Inc., so that those who currently serve Baltimore County are also more likely to be proud Baltimore County residents themselves. As a part of this larger iniative, we will allow police officers who live in Baltimore County the opportunity to participate in a much more robust take-home car program. Click here to read the rest of this post…

People like them are the reasons why Baltimore has become a strong, safe and healthy city over the years. Cumulative efforts helped the city of Baltimore go a very long way towards progress. If you want to know more about Baltimore and its history, visit us on https://www.dependablehomebuyers.com/maryland/baltimore/.

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