The two Baltimores

The first time I went into a poor city community it felt like I'd entered a different world.

My first trip to Baltimore City, was 17 years ago. It was understood that I was not to venture into areas of the city which were out of bounds to all those except for the black and the poor. It all came about because my oldest son was a high school basketball player. His basketball ventures required chauffeuring him around town. That was what introduced me to parts of the city I had made off limits to myself.

I felt like I was in a completely different world. Dilapidated houses, broken roads, burned homes, windows boarded. A black friend let us into a hall where basketball was being practiced. Inside was a totally different world altogether. The energy, the discipline and the camaraderie was refreshing. I became part of the crowd. Cheering at every good move and encouraging my son and the rest of the players to make one.

Baltimore is a place beyond the reality of many people. It can be a place of warmth, embraces and brotherhood and sisterhood. Or it can be the place where young black men are killed by those who "protect and serve."

Aziza Khan, Lutherville

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