Best Baltimorean: Erricka Bridgeford

Over the course of the 72-hour Baltimore Ceasefire this past August, co-organizer Erricka Bridgeford was savvy enough, vulnerable enough, and real enough to shake a large swath of this city out of our cynicism, our pain, our inertia, and get us into the streets. She got us to organize, to party together, to use what we knew to help each other, to pray together, and, most importantly, to talk to one another, all with the goal of trying to stop the murders in the city—and without any help from the powers that be. It was pretty amazing. The thing about Baltimore is that in the mouths of racists, it becomes shorthand for a bunch of things. People like Donald Trump say Baltimore when they want to say “baby mamas,” “thugs,” or “niggers.” So when major news outlets started paying attention to the ceasefire, it came with the weight of the told-you-sos that would happen when and if someone was killed, and the knowledge that Bridgeford would be the object of the scorn. When someone was killed, Bridgeford didn’t shy away from the spotlight; she publicly mourned the death of 24-year-old Lamontrey Tynes and even boldly offered up some sympathy for his shooter. She also didn’t let us forget that there’s a direct line from this city’s high murder rate to the racist ways that this country has failed black people. Another ceasefire is planned for this November and we wish Bridgeford and the other organizers nothing but the best.

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