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Keith Smith, 52, and his daughter talk about the death of Smith's wife, Jacquelyn Smith. Keith Smith initially said she was stabbed after rolling down the window to give money to a panhandler. But Baltimore Police have now charged Keith Smith and his daughter Valeria Smith in Jacquelyn's death.  (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)

"Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway." Kent Keith said that. I am so grateful that in this light, we are not being deterred from working with and for Baltimore.

As a Harford County resident, I was brokenhearted to hear about the senseless death of Jacquelyn Smith (“Co-workers of woman who died after helping panhandler in Baltimore remember her as dedicated and genuine,” Dec. 5). However, as a social worker, I was terrified of other negative effects which could come from her death such as hardening people's hearts to the important work being done in Baltimore neighborhoods like Johnston Square.

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Unfortunately, in much of our great state, flawed logic still permeates that "inner city" neighborhoods suffer because of causes like broken homes or "black culture." While it might be easy to point to what is on the surface of a problem, what is required of us is to look at what is under the surface. In this case, you don't have to go very deep to see that we are working to counteract many decades of poverty, trauma, lack of access to care and, of course, unfair practices such as redlining.

It is my great hope that all Marylanders continue to keep their hearts and minds open and give of ourselves in spite of the tragic events which occur from desperate people. There but for the grace of God go all of us. We can't forget that.

Allison Berkowitz, Bel Air

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