In regard to the article, "Baltimore's Downtown Partnership to place unarmed guards at intersections to monitor to Squeegee Kids" (Oct. 12), I say let's engage in real talk. The majority of the squeegee kids are predominantly young men of color. I have been travelling to and through and around Baltimore for over 20 years. At times, I have had money to give, and at others, I have not. I have never been disrespected by one of these youth but have seen them disrespected by drivers quite a few times.
I am shocked that one "alleged" incident by a squeegee kid brings unarmed monitors to the corners. How about finding the one wayward youth and holding him responsible rather than focus negative energy on a whole community of youth who are showing a positive work ethic? The article states "The police did not provide data to show whether squeegee activity, arrests or crimes associated with the window washers have increased." People see it as a nuisance and don't want to be bothered.
The real issue is that we are still afraid of young black men.The ideas put forth in the article are great: let's make it easier to donate and let's open up the job market for youth. These are not solutions to the real issue that lies underneath all the rhetoric. Perhaps these youthful workers do not want a steady job or to be trained. Maybe they just want a job that does not require training, where they can hang with their friends and make some money.
The issue is that youth of color cannot win in a city and country that has difficulty finding the words to discuss racism and bias. Youth of color cannot win when just one of them may have destroyed property and now they will all be monitored. Youth of color cannot win when their efforts to find solutions are not supported but eyed with suspicion. I believe in change and hope. I believe that our path to change has to begin with honest talk and policies that build up our youth rather than set them up.
Erica Rosen, Glen Burnie