A “state of emergency,” not to be confused with the one declared by the governor, should be continued in Baltimore, Maryland. Indeed, a state of emergency with a domestic Marshall Plan-like design ($13 billion 1948 post WWII European Recovery Program) should be declared in many other urban and rural communities in our nation. Too many communities are suffering from high levels of unemployment, especially among youth; childhood poverty; race and class-based police brutality and unwarranted imprisonment; business licensure patterns that concentrate liquor, lottery, fast food outlets, and instant cash and pawn shops in vulnerable sections of communities; indigenous population dislodging gentrification; inadequate social and public health infrastructures, inadequate funding of public education; and deteriorating cultural and family units.
In Baltimore, the state of emergency should bring to bear coordinated federal, state, city and community leadership and resources to implement well-funded and accountable recovery and development initiatives. They should include, but not be limited to, immediate and full transparent accountability for the killing of Freddie Gray with prosecution where appropriate; necessary reform of the police department, full funding of the State’s Bridge to Excellence Education “Thornton” formula and its Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) component that will immediately benefit Baltimore City’s children, especially those in West Baltimore; a full employment summer program for youth; a training and full employment initiative for adults, including public employment where necessary; programs to stimulate indigenous small business development, and initiatives to help the community reclaim and project its rich cultural identity.
I am pleased to see the broad-based consensus about the historical and contemporary factors that are compromising life in large sections of Baltimore and cities facing similar challenges. I hope the consensus will serve as the foundation of support for a state ofemergency domestic Marshall Plan-like response by responsible federal, state, city, civic, economic, educational, religious and other community leaders. They should convene to begin work on the recovery and development initiatives and outline an implementation timeline. Let’s hope that shortly media attention will be as intensely focused on the initiatives I have recommended as it has been on the rebellion that followed the death of Freddie Gray.