⬆︎ Erricka Bridgeford
Bridgeford, the public face of Baltimore Ceasefire, had a lot on her plate this weekend, but she handled it with grace. She said what needed to be said—focusing on community, trauma, and joy—rather than what was "supposed" to be said, showed up at the spot of the first homicide to pray, called out the clueless media, and made her presence known at as many ceasefire events as possible. Bridgeford deserves a much-needed rest this week—like so many involved in the ceasefire, she presumably didn't sleep much because there was so much work to do.
⬆︎ Out 4 Justice
The men and women of Out 4 Justice were a steady presence during the ceasefire last weekend, offering food, resources, education, and just generally keeping watch over everything. PFK Boom, one of the group's more visible members, said that Baltimore will change not because of the police, but because of grassroots community efforts like Out 4 Justice and another group he is a part of, 300 Gangstas. This weekend, he said, was just the beginning. We certainly hope so.
What makes Baltimore special was on display this weekend during the ceasefire as the city did what it does so well: mixing serious organizing and activism with moments of deep understanding and also plenty of fun. What made the ceasefire so important and so Baltimore was the way in which it contained multitudes—it was never just one way. Nevertheless, the two homicides across the three-day ceasefire weekend, along with three other shootings, made it, essentially, a typical weekend in 2017, staying close to the homicide-a-day-average.
⬇︎ Politicians, Police
Baltimore Ceasefire was made possible purely through the efforts of citizens and activists, but that didn't stop politicians from glomming on for a good photo-op. And while some officers embodied community policing, an incident on Sunday ended with police tasing a man. BPD later said the man was "threatening to hurt himself." As police were trying to subdue him after the tasing, another man jumped into the fray. He was apprehended and later released. The confrontation only highlighted the fractured relationship between those in power and the community.
⬇︎ Right-wing trolls
One of the more inexplicable things that happened this weekend: the prevalence of right-wing trolls, cynical law-and-order types, and just general dickheads popping up on social media to declare Baltimore Ceasefire a near-impossibility and then a "failure" after the weekend's first homicide, as if they wanted the effort to fail from the jump. Usually, we'd ignore this nonsense, but if anything exposes the limiting and racist nihilism of these guys, it's cheering on the failure of a wildly popular grassroots initiative against violence.