I’ve been trying for weeks now to put my feelings about the riot into words but nothing I’ve written has felt right. I’m a cocktail blogger. I write about fun stuff not emotionally and politically charged events. What answers am I supposed to give? Truth is I can’t. But I can tell you about my experience, about my community.
My community, the 10 block radius I consider home, lies next door to where the chaos occurred. I watched it on T.V., like most everyone else did, in the safety of my living room. Sixteen stories high I trembled with fear and anger as I watched my city come undone. I remember pouring myself a glass of bourbon. It sat there all night. I was too upset to drink.
Being black in Baltimore I’ve seen things that many of my friends can’t imagine. I understand things that they can’t. Being (somewhat) successful in Baltimore I’m comfortably removed from our city’s dark side. Hidden beneath all the hons and the steamed crabs is a city short of greatness. Within one night these two worlds collided. In that night the world saw us as one.
I’ll never forget that night. I’ll also never forget what came afterwards.
For the first time I felt like I was a part of a community. I saw compassion and support. I heard the very topics we’ve worked so hard to ignore actually being discussed. Yeah, there were also some ugly words. But what I saw most was hope.
The world will once again be watching us as we host yet another Preakness, the second jewel of the Triple Crown. A horse race held at a struggling race track in a not-so-nice part of town. This year we won’t be able to hide our bruises with Black Eye Susans and floppy hats.
I will watch with the rest of the world, eating steamed crabs and drinking Natty Boh from my in-laws deck. ‘Cause that’s what we do Hon! And I will watch with pride. Because today isn’t just about a bunch of horses running around a track. It’s a celebration of our resilience. Our ability to support each other and love each other.
We will rebuild. We will learn from our mistakes. We will continue to be One Baltimore.
At least, that’s what I hope. We shall see.