April 19 marks the one-year anniversary of 25-year-old Freddie Gray’s death a week after he sustained a spinal cord injury while being transported in a police van. Concerns surrounding his death catalyzed into violence and destruction last April, but also renewed a spirit of community that inspired discussions and demands for reform.
As we all reflect on the past year, join community organizations in commemorating the anniversary of both Gray’s death and the uprising that followed with these events.
April 19: Rise at the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
Explore the history of the civil rights movement at the Baltimore premiere of Rise, a music and poetry concert. Rise debuted last year in Washington, D.C.—the same day Gray passed away. The concert, which touches on events from Selma to Ferguson, features Howard University’s vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue, Howard University Choir, Occasional Symphony, and the Peabody Community Chorus. Prior to the concert, join Aaron Maybin, Sonja Sohn, Tariq Touré, and D. Watkins for a conversation about art and activism in Baltimore.
April 20: Devin Allen and Kwame Rose: One Year Later at Impact Hub Baltimore
Both photographer Devin Allen (whose photo made the cover of Time last May) and activist and hip-hop artist Kwame Rose (who publicly confronted Fox News’s Geraldo Rivera during the uprising) provided national media with another perspective of our city throughout last spring’s unrest. On this Wednesday evening, hear their thoughts about Baltimore today. This discussion event also kicks off a new exhibit of photographs, all created by children Allen mentored at the Penn North Kids Safe Zone.
April 21: What is Progress? Reflections One Year Later at the Walters Art Museum
Activists, policy makers, and community leaders will discuss the intersection of art and urban issues in “What is Progress? Reflections One Year Later.” This event—a collaboration between Good News Baltimore, Open Society Institute, and the Walters—looks to answer what has changed in the year and what will change in the years to come. This discussion is the final in Good News Baltimore’s series about the future of Baltimore.
April 25: Coalition for Transformation and Betterment of Baltimore rally at War Memorial Plaza
More than 1,500 people are expected at the rally from 3 to 6 p.m. that will draw attention to critical needs, including community policing practices, affordable housing, education, and employment, as well as the need for unity and cooperation. Additionally, the Stand Up Bmore citywide “Get Out the Vote” initiative will be onsite to provide voter education, voter assistance and community resources.
April 26: Art // Protest // Baltimore at Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse
Discover how politics influences the work of four local artists at this discussion about art and protest, featuring Sheila Gaskins, Kimberly Sheridan, Pablo Machioli, and Fire Angelou. In contrast to those who suggest art can “heal” Baltimore, these artists also question what role angry, demanding art can play in the city’s struggle for social justice.
Until April 28: “Bmore” than the Story at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum
In response to national dialogue about the “Baltimore riots,” high school students from Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts in West Baltimore have created an exhibit to redefine their experiences last April. The exhibit includes visual and performing art addressing one-sided media coverage and the students’ own lives. The same day the exhibit closes, the museum will open a new video installation, titled “Question Bridge: Black Males,” which deconstructs black male identity in the U.S.
May 6: Symphony for the City at Bethel A.M.E. Church
Join the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, their after-school music program OrchKids, and the Bethel A.M.E. Church Choir for a free evening concert at West Baltimore’s Bethel A.M.E. Church. The concert—which is “dedicated to the people of Baltimore and reflects back on a year of healing for the City,” according to a BSO news release—will include excerpts from composer Joseph Schwantner’s New Morning for the World, which features a narration of speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr., alongside classical music.
Through May 8: Detroit ‘67 at Center Stage
The play may be about a city far from here almost 50 years ago, but there are plenty of themes that we still grapple with today—the role of police, economic opportunity in urban communities, the role of race in community relationships. The footage of National guard troops that plays as a backdrop will resonate with Baltimore audiences, and at one point, it even includes footage of protestors after Gray’s death
Building on the popularity of the two free concerts the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra played during last year’s unrest—including an impromptu concert outside Meyerhoff and the “Concert for Peace” [link to blog] the following week—the BSO is holding a free, three-concert series in West Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Avenue Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. After playing Handel’s Water Music in March and Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1 in April, the BSO will conclude their series with Mozart on this Monday afternoon.