I felt that the uprisings last April were an important incident that happened in Baltimore’s history. It was international news and there were many different ways to hear about it. There were talks on campus with various speakers, the media was reporting on it, and everyone was talking about it. I felt as though there were many different stories being said about what happened and about that area in general. Many of the stories seemed to contradict each other. Many of them seemed wrong and were said to perpetuate certain stereotypes about that area and the people that live there. I do not live around that area but the effects were definitely felt, there was a curfew, businesses closed early and we were advised not to go to certain places. That’s why I had the idea to interview someone who is associated with the area and get a first hand experience of the area through a “drive along”. I was fortunate enough to meet Antwon Edwards. He works at Neighborcare pharmacy in Charlestown retirement community and is my mother’s colleague. He lives very close to the area and agreed to do an interview and take me for a ride along and tour of that area. Antwon told me that he lives about 5-10 minutes from the area but spends 4 days a week there coaching youth football for the kids that live there. He said that the police brutality Freddy Gray endured was unnecessary. Freddy was picked up two blocks away from the police station but the police took an alternative and needlessly long and winding route to get to the precinct. When asked about how people reacted he said both positively and negatively. There were many people rioting and looting this caused many stores to be shut down for about two weeks and people could not get simple everyday needs. On the other hand, there were many marches, cleanup crews and memorials set up that many people took part in.
After the interview we had the ride along and it put the interview into perspective. We drove the exact distance from where Gray was picked up to the precinct and saw how close it was. We also drove the unnecessarily long route. We drove around the area and saw all the shops (including the CVS) that had been closed and all the memorials and artworks that had been put up after the incident. Additionally, he showed me where all the community outreach and cleanup programs were held. After seeing all of this and having this first hand experience, I believe that although there was a divide of people that caused harm and people that did good (about 50% each), overall it brought the community together. It gave an opportunity for people outside of the community to view the people of that area and maybe lose the predisposition they had.