We are Democrats and Republicans, blacks and whites, females and males, old and young, old timers and newbies (“Better to have a few rats than to be one,” July 27). We are small business owners, nurses, teachers, government contractors, doctors, artists, lawyers, barbers and everything in between who live in row houses, whose lives are as inextricably connected as the walls we share between us. We look out for one another and tend to each other’s gardens and pets, collect mail and deliveries for one another when one of us is traveling. We walk, bike, ride and drive through the neighborhoods of Baltimore every day and see its beauty and ugliness, its peace and chaos, its prosperity and devastation, its affluence and poverty. We are Baltimore and we are the United States of America. We love and live in this city and in this country with its paradoxes.
We obey the law despite the fact that justice is not always impartially applied to all citizens. We recognize that power, affluence and privilege are not always based on merit and yet we uphold the value of hard work, honesty, integrity and intellectual pursuit. We read, dialogue respectfully and use our minds to understand the complex historical and systemic contributions that has given rise to the current social disparities across the United States. We mourn the death of hundreds of Baltimore’s young people each year, and our hearts break over the cycle of poverty and the legacy of trauma whose affects await the surviving youth of this city. Yet we refrain from name calling and callous remarks that are hurtful and instead work to change the system that set people up to fail.
We take great care of patients in hospitals despite obvious bias against our ethnic backgrounds. We teach foreign languages to students whose family values discount the contribution of recent immigrants. We invest in this city by being involved in schools, urban gardens, community organizations and advocacy work and believe someday our efforts will reach a critical mass to change the tide in our collective favor. We are informed and empowered, and we choose and support government officials who recognize everyone’s responsibility for the revitalization of our city. We consider bullying tactics a disgraceful way of use of one’s power.
Baltimore is an All-American City. Its history and its current affairs are reminiscent of America’s history and American current affairs. When you insult Baltimore, you insult the whole of America.
Sosena Kebede, Baltimore
Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.