The Chatter

Baltimore Responds to the Death of George Floyd

From social media to the city streets, reactions flood in over another black death in police custody.

By Lydia Woolever | May 31, 2020, 2:49 pm

Scenes from a peaceful protest along North Avenue Saturday. -Photography by Isaiah Winters
The Chatter

Baltimore Responds to the Death of George Floyd

From social media to the city streets, reactions flood in over another black death in police custody.

By Lydia Woolever | May 31, 2020, 2:49 pm

Scenes from a peaceful protest along North Avenue Saturday. -Photography by Isaiah Winters

In the days since the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man who died after being pinned to the ground by a white police officer in Minneapolis last Monday, an outpouring of outrage and grief has swept the United States—from every corner of the internet to large protests in the midst of a global pandemic in dozens of cities across the country, including the streets of Baltimore.

It’s an all too familiar scene, coming on the heels of other deeply disturbing, high-profile killings of black Americans like Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and just one month after the five-year anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray in police custody.

From personal anecdotes to documentary footage, here are some of the responses coming out of Baltimore, as well as ways to get involved.




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Baltimore City Hall

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My 2020 thoughts about violent uprisings. People keep looking for "or", when we are in an "and" situation. #PeaceIsMyShit AND I completely understand not only why uprisings happen, I understand the need for them in our world. We live in a world that tells people to shut up and eat the cake, Annie Mae. The poison cake. We live in a world that tells Black & Brown people we are only worth: Being killed at every turn Being dehumanized Being filled with lead... bullets and paint and water Being unheard Being silenced Being last Being robbed.. also known as gentrified Being deported by white people from land they stole Being treated like whiteness is the Tiger King and we are big cats out this bitch. AND we are supposed to do everything opposite of how all of that impacts the brain. Newsflash: We are human. Brain science dictates that unfair treatment sends humans into fight, flight, or freeze mode. The world is happy as fuck when we flee or freeze. They can say we are paralyzed because we don't care about our communities. They can say we flee because we are weak. But when we fight........ they don't understand why. Just like Joe Exotic didn't understand why the cats attacked him the minute they weren't drugged. Except, we aren't tigers. We are PEOPLE. So, for us, it's all included in the revolution. Revolution doesn't happen through either peace or violence. Revolution doesn't have to pick. Revolution is an "and" situation. Revolution can use both peace and violence as useful tools, because REVOLUTION IS OF GOD. God can use ALL OF IT, and does use all of it. There are much needed things that exist in Baltimore ONLY because of the Blessed Baltimore Uprising. There are mindsets and conversations that ONLY changed because of the #BaltimoreUprising. Continued in next post...

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In this moment as a progressive white woman I have to catch myself from turning away from my discomfort and turning into it to examine myself. My tendency is to look for ways I am exempt from my whiteness and the benefits I receive from it and the harm that systemic oppression does to people of color. Being outraged and sad is a good first step and then I have to ask what next? How can my discomfort serve as a door inward on myself and not a door out. Sure it feels like I have done something if I post about racism, or I call out racism but what is next? I must engage in a constant effort to work against being tempted by the easy answers that whiteness offers me. These words are not mine they are a mix of Robin DiAngelo and Anna Marie Cox. I go back to them a lot and I would like to share two resources that I find very valuable especially in moments like this when I find myself wanting badly to be able to other the " racists " and exempt myself from the system I benefit from. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ First- " White Fragility Why it is so hard for white people to talk about race" by Robin DiAngelo This book has been very helpful to me I come back to it again and again. Second - The " White Fragility Episode 101 " of With Friends Like These Anna Marie Cox makes some really interesting comparisons between recovery work from addiction and how that can actually be a lense to look at white supremacy. . . . #GeorgeFloyd #BreonnaTaylor #AmaudArbery

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In solidarity. ❤️

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The fact that I or anyone that looks like me, would have to remind some of you that our lives matter, is sickening. But of course, here we go again. My life MATTERS! Those that look like me, talk like me, cry like me, bleed like me...their lives fucking MATTER! We MATTER dammit! But please hear me out, I’m not having this conversation with my black brothers and sisters here, I’m having it with all the rest of you. So many of you send me so many wonderful messages daily about how you’ve been inspired, encouraged and love that I share what I’m passionate about. You’ll ride for me when I talk about interiors and plants, but I need you to ride for me and other like me NOW! Be upset and outraged with us! Demand change now, with us! Please, tell someone that looks like you how upset and outraged you are by all of this because they’re the ones that need to hear it. We need something new because this cycle cannot continue. I’m so tired of feeling so angry and hurt inside but not feeling comfortable to let it out. Well I guess it’s time I get a bit more comfortable and be ok with a few of you being uncomfortable. #BLACKLIVESMATTER #ALWAYSHASALWAYSWILL 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

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trying not to feel undone by the similarities between the baltimore uprising of 2015 in memory of freddie gray and the national mourning of george floyd. in 2015, baltimore too was confronted by a nation more worried about a CVS burning than the senseless killing of this young black person. in 2015, baltimore too pushed for arrests that shamefully resulted in some meager third-degree murder charge that was ultimately vacated leaving the officers free and freddie's loved ones devastated. in 2015, baltimore sent in the armed guard to terrorize its citizens while cops looted pharmacies which was later discovered in a DEA investigation (literally! what! in! the! actual! fuck!). in 2015, we watched our elected city officials invest in militarizing the police while astonishingly closing down public schools in a move that left many kids and teens vulnerable to an establishment that openly wanted them to fail. in 2015, we watched much of the media demonize those young people who were simply fighting for their right to their own lives. in 2015, the president also called them thugs. • also trying to remember that in 2015, politicians were not quick to demand justice and celebrities did not tweet so openly about police brutality. i wish so many people didn’t have to die for these solidarity tweets. what horrific shame. but still i am trying to remember that in some warped way these tweets and press conferences are some whisper towards progress. i am so grateful for this movement’s organizers and builders. • also trying to remember that while we marched in 2015 understanding acutely that the nation state was failing us, and that american imperialism was crumbling, we were astoundingly not yet even living openly under fascist rule, with the stench of white supremacy shamelessly rotting from sea to shining sea. in 2015, we were also not living against the backdrop of a global pandemic that is also synonymously the largest unemployment crisis in our history— two terrifyingly expedient ways to kill poor and working-class black people. but, yes, let us mourn the big box store. • photo @julythephotoguy @apnews sermon @aireadeefam

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“Police them as if they were your children” -2020

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WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

Following Saturday’s protests in downtown Baltimore, a youth-led “Love from Baltimore to Minneapolis” demonstration will take plan on Monday, June 1, in the name of “justice for George Floyd and all victims of state violence [in] solidarity with the Minneapolis Uprising,” with a 3:30 p.m. assembly on the corner of Sharp and Pratt streets.

There are many organizations currently accepting donations such as the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund; the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which works to provide bail for jailed protesters; the Minnesota-based Black Visions Collective, a black, trans, and queer-led social justice organization; Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp that provides resources for black and brown youth; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; the American Civil Liberties Union; and the Southern Poverty Law Center, among others.

Local restaurants and businesses are also finding ways to get involved by fundraising for local and national organizations and non-profits. Today, Sunday, May 31, Fells Point’s Cocinas Luchadoras taco spot is donating 10 percent of all sales to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. Old Goucher’s Larder restaurant is now featuring a special waste-free duck and vegetable dish with proceeds from all orders benefitting the Minnesota Freedom Fund, as well, in addition to matching all donations submitted through their website. Motzi Bread is matching all sales of its $5 Pay It Forward loaves for donations to Reclaim The Block, a Minneapolis organization that advocates for police reform, as well as Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a Baltimore collective that works toward inclusive public policy.

Today, Charles Village’s Get Shredded Vintage shop will also be donating 25 percent of online sales to the Baltimore Action Legal Team’s community bail fund for people imprisoned under minor offenses. This week, the Remington-based B. Willow plant shop will also donate all gratuity and 10 percent of sales to the Baltimore Action Legal Team, while the Greedy Reads book store is also donating 15 percent of all sales to D.C.’s Antiracist Research & Policy Center and the Baltimore Brew.




Meet The Author

Lydia Woolever is senior editor at Baltimore, where she covers people, food, music, and the Chesapeake Bay.



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