Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called on Baltimoreans Wednesday, regardless of "race, religion or social or economic status," to come together to reflect on the city's needs one year after the unrest that followed Freddie Gray's death.
She will host a "Day of Reconciliation" event at 4 p.m. at Reisterstown Road and Liberty Heights Avenue near Mondawmin Mall. She will be joined by city, state and community and business leaders.
Widespread rioting and looting broke out near the mall in the hours after Gray's funeral on April 27 last year. Six officers are facing charges associated with Gray's in-custody death; all have pleaded not guilty.
Rawlings-Blake also acknowledged the Gray family's personal loss.
"It is a day that will be remembered by the Gray family forever," Rawlings-Blake said. "The unexpected loss of a family member to violence is jarring. You don't plan for it. You don't forget it."
She said his family spoke out last year with a request for peace amid the questions Gray's death sparked about "police misconduct and urban challenges."
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"While there were several demonstrations that heeded that request on April 27, Baltimore experienced one night of unrest that changed our city, our history and our lives," the mayor said. "My hope is that we will use today as a time of reflection."
Rawlings-Blake said the city has made progress. She said police officers are receiving new training and more of them are on foot patrols. Her administration is launching a body camera program and working to foster more community engagement, create new jobs, provide more affordable housing and additional opportunities for children and teens.
The mayor said she also is fundraising "around the clock" to raise more money for a summer jobs program for the 9,400 young people, ages 14-21, who have applied for work. She said she was making a personal appeal to every business, nonprofit and residents to donate money to help pay for young people to work over the summer.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation pledged $500,000 for the summer jobs program and offered to give another $500,000 if the mayor can find matching donations.
"I am asking everyone to help us," Rawlings-Blake said. "Every dollar counts. This is an investment. This is not charity. This is an investment in our future workforce."