‘I am an old white woman, but I get it’

After the death of Freddie Gray, neighborhoods in Baltimore erupted into protests and riots. People looted businesses in their own communities and burned future places of employment.

To understand the deeply seated history of oppression that residents feel, it’s important to listen to people who have first-hand knowledge of the attitudes and emotions swirling in East and West Baltimore.

Sharon Clements, the children’s program director at Dayspring Program, and Karen Bovie, co-chair of the poverty and homelessness committee at the First Unitarian Universalist church in Baltimore, candidly conversed about some of the frustrations that people in Sandtown and other impoverished neighborhoods feel.

Sharon Clements: “I do think this situation happened to cry out: Hear me. And even though it’s a negative way, hear me. We always say in the children industry – a little attention is better than no attention and what do I have to do get attention and even though it’s negative behavior I’m going to do it because it will put your eyes on me. I think that’s what really happened. It’s negative, but hear me.”

Karen Bovie: “Unfortuatnely the haves keep getting more. Those who are really in need are looked over. As much as I am an old white woman, I understand the frustration that led to that. I get it. It’s unfortunate, especially the place that was burned. They harmed their community was the saddest part, but I get it. I get the frustration and the anger.”

{Additional Resources: Undue Force and In Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester, every day is an ongoing Katrina}

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