The Baltimore Ceasefire 365 organization began a Baltimore Peace Challenge for the city in 2017. There were over 50 events, countless residents received resources they needed, and there was no murder for a total of 67 out of the 72 hours. (Courtesy Photo)
By Erricka Bridgeford
Co-founder of Baltimore Ceasefire 365
Murder might be the most arrogant energy known to humankind. It assumes that it will ravage you, take over your mind and have dominion over whatever it touches. Murder makes us assume that since our person was snatched from us, helplessness is all we have left.
Even after someone is killed, you can feel the energy of the murder when you get anywhere near the location. All of this is intended to make us feel exhausted and numb so that murder can go on, unchallenged. This is why murder can not have the last word. Just like someone showed up to kill the person, we can show up to love the person. We can look murder in the face, and pour light and love into the place where murder lives. The places where people lose their lives to violence should be Sacred Ground. In Baltimore, we make it so.
At Sacred Space Rituals, we pour light and love into spaces where murder assumed it would have dominion. We burn sage, frankincense, camphor, etc., to cleanse toxic energy and replace it with love. We put love in the atmosphere with words, music, and actions, all through the neighborhood. We put our love-filled bodies in the spot where someone’s pain-filled body fell, because we want them to know they are not alone. “Let there be light! Let there be love! Let there be comfort!” can be heard ringing through the block, and people come to soak up that love. Community members stop and say a prayer in the space, people come by to tell loving stories about the person who was killed, and loved ones now have a new memory of what happened in this space. Their loved one was also loved by strangers in this space, and that feels more like what they deserved.
From guys on the block using the sage to bless each other, to people asking us to come into their homes to bless them… people in Baltimore not only want love, people know they deserve love. Meanwhile, murder wants us to celebrate it and identify ourselves as its captives. It does not expect love to be the last memory in the spaces it inhabits. However, we did not come to play, and our resilience is a thing to behold. Consequently, murder does not have dominion over our city. Love does. ←- and that is a whole sentence.