Local students denounce violence with artwork displayed Sunday at the Motor House arts space in Charles North.
Local students denounce violence with artwork displayed Sunday at the Motor House arts space in Charles North. (Lillian Reed / The Baltimore Sun)

Despite two fatal shootings this weekend, Baltimore’s Ceasefire organizers say there is evidence their initiative is beginning to take hold across the city.

The group behind the grassroots anti-gun violence movement held its first Ceasefire weekend of the year, lasting from Friday through Sunday.

Advertisement

Erricka Bridgeford launched Ceasefire in August 2017, designating a 72-hour period without any killings. The weekends are held quarterly and carry the slogan, “Nobody kill anybody.”

While the groups were campaigning for peace over the weekend, a 27-year-old man was shot Friday and later died. Another man was fatally shot Saturday night. Police reported a third shooting victim walked into an area hospital Sunday with a gunshot wound to his buttocks.

Still, Ceasefire organizer Letrice Gant said Sunday that the weekend was filled with life-affirming moments. The movement, she said, spurred copycat events across the city coordinated by groups unaffiliated with Ceasefire officials.

About a dozen people joined in a prayer walk through neighborhoods in West Baltimore on Saturday morning to commemorate victims of gun violence during Baltimore's first Ceasefire weekend of the year. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun video)

“It is a community-centered self-determination movement,” Gant said. “People are deciding to change what they can.”

Gant and other Ceasefire members visited the sites where the two men were fatally shot Friday and Saturday. Before a vigil with a victim’s family members at one of the sites, Gant burned sage and made sure the man’s blood was washed away before anyone arrived, she said.

“People who think Ceasefire is just three days of nonviolence, they don’t understand the depth of our relationship with the community,” Gant said. “The fact is we believe that a person’s life matters.”

At the Ceasefire’s closing ceremony Sunday at Motor House arts space in Charles North, Gant looked over an exhibit of artwork by local students denouncing gun violence.

One piece said, “Nonviolence is the weapon of the strong.” Another illustration depicted a white dove with a gunshot wound on its breast.

'One day we won't have to call Ceasefires anymore': Prayer walk through West Baltimore honors shooting victims

About a dozen people joined in a prayer walk through neighborhoods in West Baltimore on Saturday morning to commemorate victims of gun violence during Baltimore's first Ceasefire weekend of the year.

Several of the pieces were critical of the Police Department’s role in controlling the city’s gun violence. Police Commissioner nominee Michael Harrison is looking to address Baltimore’s persistently high murder rate.

Gant said she respects the city’s efforts to install a successful commissioner, but is staying laser-focused on the streets.

She says she tries not to listen to criticisms that the Ceasefire weekend ended with two fatal shootings.

“We believe people who do not believe in us have never been impacted by gun violence,” Gant said. “But if they are, we’ll show up for them anyway.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement