My Dear Friends and Readers,
Today there was a verdict in the trial of Officer Goodson, the police officer who was charged with the most serious crimes in the death of Freddie Gray. Goodson was acquitted on all charges. What this will mean, is still left to be seen on this gray overcast evening.
My office is a few blocks from the court house where Goodson stood trial. There were more media than there were protesters or spectators and I don’t know if there is any meaning to be culled from this. I know that this city is tired. I know that this city needs jobs and better schools and police officers hired from within the city. With all this said, I hope that the city will not erupt in violence.
Tomorrow, I will deliver a speech at the tenth annual conference on juvenile services. I hope that my story will ring long in the minds and the hearts of those whose jobs are to protect and guide our young people, especially those who have found themselves in the “system”.
My message tomorrow is that every lost child in any community is a loss towards the future of the entire community. I will ask social workers and vendors, whether they supply toilet tissue to the juvenile jail or defend young people from the Office of the Public Defender to be diligent and on the look out for concealment and lies, especially from the parents and custodians who may have a lot to hide and a lot to lose. Children, after all are defenseless and in the complete control of their parents who sometimes mistreat them or abuse them.
When no one seems to value you as a person, people, children began to believe they have no value. When you have nothing to lose, you can risk everything and for many of Baltimore’s children what they gamble away is their lives.
My perspective is skewed towards children. I think children are far more believable than adults especially when it comes to abuse in the home. The sad thing is that children will often lie to protect their abusers. No matter how terrible the abuse, children want to be loved by their parents. Often times they make deals with the “devil” their parents, in order to hopefully lessen their punishments and with the distant, faint hope that their parents will stop abusing them and love them.
Because Baltimore’s many issues of under employment, racial discrimination, poor schools, no middle class and generations of poverty seem to have withstood against decades of superficial change I hope that we as a community can really address some of these issues. It seems that the efforts and tools and institutions which have been created to battle these issues appear only (and this marginally as well) to have benefited the institutions and the workers in those institutions. In our city of less than a million, 650,000, we have astounding rates of drug addiction, prostitution, and poverty. In short we have a lot of people who are emotionally damaged and act out in violence.
I wish with all of my heart that we eradicate some of these issues while I am still alive. I wish with all of my heart that children will be valued and that their creation will be chosen and prepared for and cherished rather than accidental and unplanned for. I pray that we institute better schools that teach our children to most of all, value themselves. Our poverty or social standing does not create worthiness, we are all intrinsically worthy in our humanness.
I dream a community who cares about the those who are without. I dream that we will share and be kind. I dream that we as a society will learn what it means to be a community. I hope we learn to care and value each other.
Tomorrow I will do my part. If I change the behavior of one person so that one child is saved, then it will have been worth it. Do your piece.
Tonight I end in prayer.
Let there be peace and let it begin with me.
Brianna S. Clark,
The Addict Writes