"Occupy the Corner," as it was called, was the opening salvo in another year of community outreach arranged by the anti-violence group known as 300 Men March. As they have for the past two years, members plan to gather every Friday evening into the fall to walk the streets as a group and engage residents young and old in an effort to make neighborhoods safer.If you really think that people (black people in particular) only care about violence when it comes from police, you're either woefully uninformed or willfully ignorant.
"There are a lot of people who want to do something about the violence but don't necessarily have the outlet," Bahar said before Friday's event. "That's why we created 'Occupy the Corner' — to give people an outlet, not against police violence but more specifically the day-to-day violence happening in the communities, of young folks gunning other folks down."
City Councilman Brandon Scott joined the sign-wavers, saying he hopes it will help reclaim the Penn North neighborhood from drug dealing.
"When we are engaged in our communities, we have less violence," Scott said. Last year, the group focused its efforts in the Belair-Edison community in Northeast Baltimore, Scott said, because there had been a spate of homicides there. During the months of activity there, he added, the number of killings dropped.
Scott also drew a distinction between the anti-violence efforts of 300 Men March and the protests against police violence.
"Both issues are valid," he said, adding that he may very well join the rally Saturday, too. But complaints about police misconduct are no excuse, he added, for failing to take personal responsibility for what goes on in the community.
"This is very good, but it's only symbolic,'' said Field, 63, who leads African-American heritage tours. "As soon as the 300 crowd came, the evil folk left," he said. But he added that "five minutes after they leave, it's going to be a drug corner."
April 18, 2015
Occupy the Corner
Protests in Baltimore against violence. From the Baltimore Sun: