BUILD pushes city leaders for meeting with Sandtown-Winchester residents

“The citizens from Sandtown here today do not feel like they've been listened to,” BUILD tells You

More than 100 activists interrupted a meeting of Baltimore's spending panel Wednesday and marched to police headquarters to demand city leaders meet with Sandtown-Winchester residents.

The neighborhood has been the center of much of the unrest since the death of Freddie Gray in police custody this month. But activists with Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, or BUILD, say residents have tried repeatedly to schedule meetings with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts.

On Wednesday, BUILD led a group of neighborhood leaders and others into City Hall for the weekly Board of Estimates meeting. They stood up during the meeting and asked Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young to commit to a meeting.

"There's been a lot of talking in our city, a lot of press conferences, but the citizens from Sandtown here today do not feel like they've been listened to," said the Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, co-chairman of BUILD.

"We'd like to invite you, Mr. Council President, to come into Sandtown to sit down with residents around tables, to hear their pain, what they're experiencing at the moment, and we'd like to ask if you'll commit to doing that."

Young said he'd meet immediately after the meeting to set a time. They agreed to meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

"I've been all over this city, in Sandtown, East Baltimore, all over the city of Baltimore during this terrible time we're facing, so I haven't neglected any community," Young said.

From City Hall, the group walked to police headquarters where they told officers they wanted to meet with Batts. After about an hour of waiting outside the building, the group had a commitment from Batts: 11:30 a.m. May 8.

"Today we received victory!" neighborhood activist William Scipio said to cheers.

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