On March 24th, 2013, local historians, activists, and interested parties gathered at Camden and S. Eutaw to join in the unveiling of a new plaque commemorating the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. The plaque joins a slew of public memorials in this part of southwest Baltimore but was the first recognizing the role of laborers and their struggles in the making of this place.
The crisis of empathy is a great danger to the individual. It separates us from the pain that is felt universally. It stunts our ability to conceive of anything better in how we could live our lives. It is when we can tear down the fences that we build within ourselves, and undergo that transformation—from hostility to warmth, from suspicion to a welcoming embrace, from bitterness to tenderness—we find a power that cannot be taken from us.
The word “entitlement” had prestige and dignity before the party of “no” got its hands on it. The point is that these programs are being hotly debated and politicized in the deficit reduction melee on Capitol Hill. The racialization of the issue is a common strategy to turn serious discourse on its head and rally irrational support by appealing to embedded racial stereotypes.
This winter, I had the great fortune to travel to Puerto Rico. A beautiful, diverse island, Puerto Rico has a long colonial history and a long history of resistance. Both of these traditions are still alive today, and Puerto Rico is a fascinating place to study the effects of neoliberalism.
Race has been a topic I wanted to discuss, but because of the sensitivity I have been cautious. However, since President Obama been in office, any discussion without race is unavoidable. I stay awake to the point of obsession about the racial tensions and poverty in the inner cities. I have been trying to examine what events are causing the insanity.
On Thursday afternoon, March 21, 2013, a demonstration was held at McKeldin Square, in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Its purpose was to raise awareness among the citzenry of the rising medical debt in this country and the need to adopt a single payer healthcare system. A recent study documented that nearly “60 percent” of the bankruptcies in the nation are related to an inability to “pay medical bills.” Speaking on camera about this matter is the social justice activist, Dr. Margaret Flowers of Baltimore City.
Advocates for the homeless converged on City Hall on Wednesday night to discuss the future of the “Journey Home” plan to end homelessness. The occasion was a resolution introduced by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, stating simply “That the Council calls on the City and external agencies concerned with homeless in Baltimore to appear before it to discuss the status of and proposals for any revisions to Baltimore City’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness.” Many of those who testified criticized a recent draft of the plan, as well as the process behind its production and implementation. Others used the forum to discuss Baltimore’s homelessness crisis and the City’s aggressive policy of evicting outdoor encampments.
On Thursday evening, March 14, 2013, the Labor Committee of the Baltimore City Council held a hearing, at City Hall, on the issue on the contractual obligation of the Hyatt Regency Hotel “to honor its direct employment agreement with the City of Baltimore and to furthermore enter into a ‘Labor Peace Agreement’ at its Inner Harbor/Light Street Location.”
The Resolution, CC13-0095R, was sponsored by all the members of the City Council and it passed unanimously.