Baltimore marchers protest Confederate monuments and white supremacy

More than 1,000 people marched through the streets of Baltimore Sunday to protest the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that turned deadly the day before.

A 32-year-old woman was killed in Charlottesville on Saturday and 19 people were injured when an automobile ran into a crowd of protesters who opposed the white supremacists. Two Virginia state troopers monitoring the demonstrations from a helicopter were killed when it crashed.

The Baltimore rally was one of many across Maryland and the country on Sunday.

Demonstrators placed a statue of a pregnant black woman, fist raised, with a child on her back in front of the Jackson-Lee Monument, a Confederate symbol they called on city leaders to remove, at Wyman Dell Park near the Johns Hopkins University. They demanded the firing of President Donald J. Trump’s senior adviser, Steve Bannon, and said they would stage an Occupy-style protest at City Hall this evening.

The group marched from Wyman Park along St. Paul and Charles streets through Charles Village and back, chanting and stopping traffic along the way.

Duane “Shorty” Davis, who has led several previous marches against police brutality, called Sunday's reaction to the riot in Charlottesville "the start of addressing racism in Maryland."

“White people don't like racism either,” Davis said. “It makes them feel bad. It makes them look bad. It’s hard to explain to their kids. It affects white people just like it affects black people.”

Protesters renewed calls for the city to remove its Confederate monuments. A task force commissioned by then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake recommended removing two monuments and adding more information to two, but Rawlings-Blake left the decisions to her successor, Mayor Catherine E. Pugh.

A spokesman for Pugh said the mayor has reviewed the report of the task force and spoken with mayors around the country who are deciding how to handle monuments in their cities.

“She wants to do what serves the best interests of the citizens of Baltimore,” the spokesman, Anthony McCarthy, said in a statement. “A decision will be made at an appropriate time.”

City Councilman Brandon M. Scott, a frequent critic of the mayor, said he would introduce a resolution to remove the monuments at a council meeting this week.

“Following the acts of domestic terrorism carried out by white supremacist terrorist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend, cities must act decisively by removing these monuments,” the resolution reads. “Baltimore has had more than enough time to think on the issue. It’s time to act.”

City Councilman Eric Costello sent an open letter to acting city solicitor David Ralph on Sunday requesting his legal opinion on how to “remove, relocate or reinterpret” the city’s four Confederate monuments.

Doreion Colter, neighborhood chaplain of Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello in Northeast Baltimore, said he was marching for human rights of the person killed and those injured in Charlottesville.

“I’m supporting people's right to life,” said Colter, 72. “No one should have their life taken way because they don't believe the same thing as someone else.”

Ateira Griffin, 32, and her mother, Alisa Williams, 54, of Loch Raven Village, joined the crowd.

“It's important that we as citizens stand up to show that these actions will not be condoned,” Griffin said.

“This is community,” her mother said. “That's what this is.”

Lauren Muratore, pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Riverside, said it was important for clergy to condemn hate crimes — especially when they're committed by people carrying crosses.

“It's always important for the church to be present, to show up,” she said. “Particularly when the church has been complicit with systemic racism, complicit with the history of racism in this country and the way it has been institutionalized inside and outside the church.”

She said she was standing for the Gospel, “which in this instance I would name as the beautiful diversity God has gifted us with.”

Makare Saunders, 23, an incoming filmmaking student at the Maryland Institute College of Art from North Carolina, spent her first day in Baltimore among a crowd carrying signs and chanting “This is what democracy looks like!”

“I'm really impressed they had this and they're so involved in Baltimore,” she said.

Marchers shouted “No hate, no fear, Black Lives Matter here!” as they arrived back at the Jackson-Lee monument.

Davis and other leaders urged the demonstrators to continue at City Hall and retain the spirit that drew so many to blanket the streets Sunday.

“Anybody remember Occupy?” Davis asked. “We’re going to do it again.”

In another event in Annapolis, politicians, community organizers and religious leaders joined at a memorial on Calvert Street.

After about an hour of speeches, people at the rally lit candles and joined in song. Organizer Monica Lindsey addressed the crowd.

“We light them to show solidarity to those in Charlottesville that suffered such a tragic experience yesterday and Friday evening. We show respect to them for their actions and their commitment to stand against hatred, and we join with them in their stance with these candles and lights as a form of solidarity,” she said.

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Rachael Pacella The Associated Press contributed to this article.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

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