The Mail: 10/7-10/14

300 Men March responds to our story, readers weigh in on a riot vs. a protest, and more.

300 Men March responds

On behalf of the 300 Men March movement, I officially voice our disgust about the article written by Kaila Philo (The Feature, Sept. 30), about the Women of 300. We request that the City Paper acknowledge that it printed false opinions posing as journalism, when it published Ms. Philo's article.

Let's put aside the fact that names, titles, and quotes were incorrect. Ms. Philo had an opportunity to write truth about powerful female activists in Baltimore. Instead, she took everything she observed at the 9/2/15 300 Women's Planning Meeting and diminished it. As we spent at least 20 minutes giving "facts to dispel the myth that women are sidelined in 300," that very language became a headline in an article determined to omit facts and convince readers that women are "relegated to the background." Women of 300 include Monokia Nance (Heal a Woman, Heal a Nation), Kristina Page (House of Ruth), Ericka Alston (Penn/North Safe Zone), Ellen Gee (Black Money Matters Project), and myself. Ms. Philo attended the meeting but did not do a follow-up interview, yet a quick fact-checking mission would have shown her that these women are known as leaders, warriors for justice, revolutionaries, and even superheroes in Baltimore. The idea that they COULD be sidelined is disrespectful to women's roles in the history of social justice.

What are a few things that actually happened at the 9/2/15 meeting? The group:

•Heard about the leadership of women in planning and implementing strategies for the annual 300 march against violence on North Avenue. Women have ALWAYS been visible, and men needed to say to Baltimore, "We are here! Women will not continue to stand alone. We are men addressing other men, letting them know that their violent behavior is unacceptable to us." Munir said that without women in leadership roles, the annual march would not be a success.

•Heard about 300's actions to address domestic abuse, which America sees as a "women's issue." 300 hosts a panel discussion and yearly march to educate people about domestic abuse and to encourage people to take a stand.

•Saw two women running the meeting with Munir. The women on the leadership team eventually forced him to leave, as he was making himself late to meet the new male recruits by putting the women first.

•Heard about women's ongoing leadership in 300, through the work of the three women on the movement's leadership team.

•Heard about how the movement consists of all volunteers, and how women outnumber the men.

This article also implied that there's something "odd" about 300's relationship with police, while Ms. Philo heard us inform the group, in detail, about how the police respect 300 because we have reduced violence and touched communities in ways that they aren't able to do. For these reasons and many more that can't be stated within the 500-word limit, we mistrust the intent of this article, and believe an apology for lack of journalistic integrity is in order.

Erricka Bridgeford

300 Men March media spokesperson

From the Web, Facebook, and Twitter

"Can Kevin Davis and the cops distinguish a protest from a riot?"

When the PD becomes comfortable in riot gear, they might not be police anymore. If the need to keep special units of police ready to respond to "riots" becomes too expensive, and money is what is really at stake here, then maybe budgets should be adjusted; wouldn't want the wealthy to have the stink of the People all over their property.

The mere presence of riot troops begs the riot. Other large cities have learned this, why not my old home town?

Bonne chance à tout le monde!

—"@Painedumonde," Oct. 3

Protests are legal, riots are not. What starts out as a protest can become a riot. There isn't time to "change" from standard walking-the-beat patrol uniforms into riot gear if protests turn violent. Blocking public rights of way is illegal; walking into traffic is illegal; putting your hands on other people's property is illegal. Standing, walking, holding signs on sidewalks, in a park, on the court house steps, is legal. These are not difficult concepts.

I couldn't be more in support of those who protest for what they believe, and do so with effective decorum and respect for our City and themselves. But nothing that was done outside the court room affected Judge Williams' decisions at these motions hearings. Nothing. Nor should it, as nothing outside that court room should influence a judge's decisions in any manner. Too many of those "protesting" have no idea what they're doing and have no concept of how government works, or how to effectively manage a campaign that otherwise has some merit. Many of these "leaders" want to get their face on TV more than they want to achieve actual change, or at least it seems that way as the methods they use are counterproductive.

—"Holmesianesque," Oct. 3


"The Reluctant Activist: Former drug dealer, music-industry insider, and community organizer Stokey Cannady"

Great article! I commend Stokey for his efforts, committment, and love for the city. It's easy to sit back and talk about what needs to change but it takes courage and strength to be the change.

—"kajackson," Sept. 30

"Ready For Another Riot: Fells Point business owners worry about the effects of more unrest"

I assumed they went out of business. This is a bad idea.

—"Brian J. Averill," Oct. 1

He should at least paint We Are Open on the plywood. I thought they closed at first too.

—"Nancy Young," Oct. 1

With a defeatist attitude like that, he should sell now. Fells Point (and Baltimore) doesn't need it.

—"John Sofokles," Oct. 1

Corrections: A story on the 300 Men March (Feature, Sept. 30) contained multiple errors. Erricka Bridgeford was identified in the piece as Erica, a member of the audience. Her name is Erricka Bridgeford and she is the media spokesperson of the 300 Men March.

Bridgeford was misquoted in the piece. She was quoted as saying, "There were things that this group inspired in my son to get serious about being a businessman that I, as a mother, couldn't instill in him." She said, "There were things that this group inspired in my son to get serious about being a man that I, as a mother, couldn't instill in him."

Kristina Page was identified as senior service organizer of the 300 Men March. She is the chair of the 300 Women's Planning Committee. City Paper regrets the errors.

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