The Protest Issue

As the dust settles—or gets kicked up again in the months to come—City Paper decided it was time to revisit the events that threw our city into turmoil this spring. We invited a diverse group of players to the table—protesters, small-business owners, artists, activists—in order to map out the landscape in Baltimore before, during, and after the uprising.

The first of the Freddie Gray trials is slated to begin Nov. 30. Murder trials in the city typically take a year or two to get to court (and that's a whole different—though connected—story; check back with us on that one later this fall) but certainly a slew of hearings and pretrial motions will keep Gray's death at the forefront of our public conversation. For that reason, we thought it made sense to slow down the action for a moment to tease out who the players are and what conflicts hide beneath the surface of the uprising.

In this issue, Brandon Soderberg analyzes the police department's role in diffusing or fueling violence. Maggie Ybarra talks to small-business owners about the fallout from the riots. Kaila Philo reports on the 300 Men March, an anti-violence organization that relegates women to the sidelines. Olivia Adams narrows her gaze to an embattled symbol—the American flag—that adorns a Sandtown mural. Nia Hampton, monitoring the uprising from Brazil, sees a parallel between #BlackLivesMatter and the International March Against the Genocide of Black People. Kwame Rose, a protest leader, delivers a 10-point demand for change. Elizabeth Doerr profiles a spoken-word poet who encourages young people to channel their frustration into activist poetry. Lawrence Burney talks to a former drug dealer turned activist who wants to give teens more options than he had growing up in the city. Speaking of teens, Soderberg reviews a zine full of local teens' tweeted reactions to the unrest and talks to Maeghan Donovan, who released an album about the uprising. Baynard Woods finds beauty in the oppressed rising up against oppression.

It's not a comprehensive list of the actors and issues, but it's a beginning. Check back with us in the days ahead as the Freddie Gray trials proceed—and as the landscape shifts.

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