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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

PROTECT THIS HOUSE

I am a Maryland girl. I grew up about an hour north of Baltimore in the small town of Perryville. I currently live about 40 minutes south of Baltimore, outside of Annapolis with my husband and four children. My husband is a developer who works tirelessly to improve and restore worn down areas and buildings to beautiful structures of affordable housing and several of his projects exist in Baltimore. My brother-in-law is an Anne Arundel County police officer, one of the best in fact, with a wife and three young children to come home to and he has been working the streets of Baltimore for the last 8 days and nights.

I couldn't turn off the news until well after midnight last night because it isn't every day that a city that you know and love is on a national stage, albeit for horrific reasons. If there is ever a time to wake up and pay attention, it is now. My brother-in-law was at Mondawmin Mall. My sister-in-law didn't have contact with him for hours.

There are billboards and ads around Baltimore for Under Armour, a Maryland born and based brand that read "Protect this House" and the answer that follows is "I Will." Freddie Gray's family again and again asked for peace, to protect this house. The police have worked around the clock to restore peace, to protect this house. There were several Baltimore residents, former police, a Vietnam vet, lawyers and politicians interviewed that are doing everything possible to protect this house.

Those who seemed to not get the message were not all, but some of the media, coming into town for a day, maybe two who seemed like what they most cared about was who to blame for this happening, and it wasn't the ones destructing. Which politician let the ball drop? Who in power let Baltimore down? Who should we run over with our media buses again and again? It wasn't about the acts of the "protestors" but the acts of the politicians that seemed to take the forefront in their coverage. It wasn't about how we go forward but how we keep looking backward, casting stones at the mayor and those who want more than anything than to see Baltimore thrive.

Was it handled perfectly? No. 

But I will say that I was with my children at Camden Yards on Sunday, joining thousands for Little League day and the mood of Baltimore was of hope. It felt that the worst was over. It felt that people heard the family of Freddie Gray and protestors would back down and not match an eye for an eye. It was not anticipated that Monday would bring devastation of historic proportions. Our politicians are not perfect but they are not the ones that have set the city ablaze. By grilling them and looking backward you are only fueling anger and separating those with power and those that destruct all the more, dividing a city that yearns and needs to join together. You have a choice in what the public hears. You have the microphone. You can choose to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution.

My brother-in-law said that there were 8 year olds throwing rocks and bricks at the police. He has an 8-year old and so do I. The image of a child destroying their own neighborhoods to attack the ones that are trying to protect it is not one I will ever understand or soon forget. 

Dear media, if you are looking for someone to blame for these events please blame those who have the rocks in their hands. The ones who teach children to throw the stones. Please don't be the ones caught with the rocks.

I tell my children when they are looking to cast blame in an argument that it doesn't matter so much who started the argument, but the one who is the bigger person and ends it. It is time to move forward on the road ahead, unite and be part of a rebuild, a rebirth. It is time Baltimore. It is time.

Let's protect this house.

I will.

Katie



Sunday.

Monday.


Today.




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