Nonprofit BUILD brings concerns from immigrant families to Baltimore police

A student who was jumped on the way to school, a social worker whose clients are afraid to leave home, a wife who saw her husband pistol whipped outside their house. All were among the churchgoers who wrote down their fears on 597 cards delivered Monday to the Baltimore police.

The hand-written cards revealed the fears of Latino families across Baltimore: crime, deportation, even anonymity.

“We are invisible,” said Monica Guerrero, of Butchers Hill. “We need to be seen.”

About 20 people and leaders of nonprofit BUILD Baltimore delivered the cards Monday afternoon to police headquarters. Families attending services Sunday at Baltimore churches had been encouraged to write down their concerns on cards in the pews.

Many feared deportation and signed only their first names.

“I was 9 years old when I saw a man killed. I was 15-16 when I saw two brothers for no reason shot down on Greenmount Avenue. I could go on. Help us to bring peace to the city and its people,” Sandra wrote.

The cards were delivered as part of an ongoing campaign by the nonprofit BUILD to unite the city and staunch the surge in gun violence. As part of the campaign, BUILD organizers are working to help voice concerns from immigrant families in Baltimore, those who may be fearful to speak up.

“They want their voices heard,” said Rob English, the lead organizer of BUILD. “Many of them said they want to work with the police, but they didn’t know any.”

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis was expected to meet with immigrant families Sunday, but he never made it, English said. So the volunteers brought their concerns to police headquarters Monday.

Davis was out of town for an unexpected personal matter, police said.

Another officer accepted their cards, thanked the volunteers, and promised the notes would reach Davis’ desk.

tprudente@baltsun.com

twitter.com/Tim_Prudente

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