Our City is in Pain

Our City is in Pain
We must have conversations about structural challenges

“I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But, in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.”
-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “The Other America,’ April 1967

Of course, people must be held accountable for their actions – everyone must be held accountable, from the police associated with the death of Freddie Gray to the persons involved in inflicting their pain on the very businesses that are a part of our community.

We join with our neighbors, families and friends in supporting Baltimore. We applaud those everyday citizens and businesses who came out and continue to come out to volunteer to make a better Baltimore. We applaud all of our leaders seeking not just to restore peace but seeking to really listen to citizens and hear their voices.

We can and we will heal.

The question is:  Will our healing simply cover the wound or will our healing go deep to carve out the root causes? We have to be prepared to address the systemic issues, many of them associated with institutional and structural racism. If we do not address these issues at the core of our challenges, we may very well find ourselves back here again. These structural issues are embedded in all of our systems and institutions and we must identify them and seek solutions inside of those structures as well. Addressing the structural issues will allow us to achieve transformational change for children, families, businesses, and organizations in our city.

ABC has long called for a deeper understanding, and a deeper look at the structural barriers that have produced the economic and health disparities along racial lines. We have created tools to encourage these conversations and tools to take a deeper look at the structural barriers. Dismantling institutional and structural racism must be embedded in all we do.

ABC, in partnership with Aspen/Baltimore and Baltimore Racial Justice Action, is prepared to work with neighborhood organizations and nonprofits to help them in having conversations about “institutional and structural racism” – what it is and what it isn’t, and how we can impact it together. We can truly begin to create One Baltimore, once we are willing to address these structural issues.

We will continue to seek additional partners who are willing to join with us to encourage and support this part of the work necessary for long term positive change.

We encourage you to support our push for more conversations about a deeper understanding of the institutional and structural barriers.

Click Here To Download “Policy Application of a Racial Equity Lens”


This spring, Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn and the Hogan Administration are conducting their own reviews of two light rail projects planned for Maryland:  the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties and the Red Line in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.  For anyone seeking to improve access to jobs for Baltimore City residents the Red Line is a critical opportunity.

The region will receive a huge economic boost from the nearly 10,000 jobs generated by Red Line construction, expected to take eight years. Once the new stations open, permanent jobs will spring up as businesses locate nearby and retail shops open their doors to take advantage of heavy transit traffic. According to the American Public Transportation Association, every $10 million in capital spending on public transportation yields $30 million in added business sales.

The Red Line would also have a profound impact on access to jobs. This is where ABC’s More and the Middle agenda and the Red Line connect – the connection to economic opportunity provided by transportation.

Since 1969, the city’s employment base has shrunk by 28.5% while suburban jobs have increased an astonishing 182.6% – an addition of 810,500 jobs.  The trend of central-city job loss and suburban job growth makes access to employment difficult if not impossible for people who live in the city but do not have access to a car.  In Baltimore City 30% of households do not have a car, and in some neighborhoods along the Red Line corridor that figure approaches 70% of households.  In addition the neighborhoods along the Red Line corridor, particularly on Baltimore’s west side are where the highest percentages of people endure commutes over 45 minutes to get to work.

It is bad for the individuals, bad for the regional economy and bad for businesses to have a disconnect between people and employers. 

As the first east-west line in the region’s rail system the Red Line would increase the number of residents who have access to regional rail transit by 83,000, a 62% increase over today.

The Red Line is precisely the best investment we can make to strengthen Baltimore City and the Baltimore region economically and get more of its residents connected to jobs.

Do us a favor please – share this story and the impact of having the Red Line with you network, your family, your friends, your neighbor – your voices matter.