After the election in Nov. there will be many new faces in Baltimore, from the Mayor, expected to be State Senator Catherine Pugh, to many new members of the City Council. The Uprising in April, following the death Freddie Gray in Baltimore City Police custody, put the city and its citizens under the national microscope.
The AFRO spoke to activists (from left) Maya Camille, Keith McBrown, Kelli Pinkney and Shawn Smallwood, among others, about what Baltimore needs once the new administration comes to power in Nov. (Courtesy photos)
The AFRO reached out to several local activists asking them one question: “What do you expect from the next mayor of Baltimore and her administration? What laws or policies would you like to see put in place?” Their responses appear below.
Instructor and Organizer of the Urban Debate League/ Activist/ Film Maker/ Speaker
“I have two expectations: my heart has expectations for our incoming mayor and so does my brain. My heart expects Catherine Pugh to do everything in her power to punish corrupt police officers who abuse their authority, and participate in police brutality; my brain tells me that, that is not how politics work here in America.
Realistically I expect Catherine Pugh to capitulate to the same powers that Stephanie Rawlings-Blake capitulated to. I would love to see Catherine Pugh punish slum lords who rent out dilapidated buildings to tenants and have no desire to fix them. I would love to see Catherine Pugh knock down these abandoned buildings and create safe and affordable housing. I’d love to see Catherine Pugh take some of these old abandoned warehouses into buildings that could be used as jobs. I would love to see Catherine Pugh do everything in her power to correct the BCPSS funding. These problems are greater than just one person, it takes us as a community to turn these things around, but hopefully from a policy stand-point Catherine Pugh can introduce legislation that punishes corrupt police officers, punishes slum lords and punishes anyone in the financial sector that mis-manages funds.
Poet/Activist/3-Year Host of Ova East Community Open Mic
“I expect for the new mayor to listen to what the residents of this city have said and implement change to systems that keep the lifelong residents of this city who aren’t White or wealthy in poverty. I expect the new mayor to start the healing process for this city. No matter how ugly or painful it may be. I expect for our mayor to fight for the residents who feel they have lost. I expect this mayor to not go about business as usual; because business as usual has done nothing for Baltimore. This new mayor better shake shit up or things will be shaken up for them.”
“What am I expecting from the new mayor? Real change that I can see: less homeless people, more programs to help people. I would like to see community programs to bring together communities not separate them. Programs for the elderly who feel not part of society still.”
Co- Creator of Invisible Majority/ Community Organizer/ Speaker/ Activist
I’d like to see a mayor be mindful and sensitive to the needs of everyone in the city and come up with creative solutions to move the city forward. Too long has the mayor sacrificed one community for another and we don’t have to do that. We need community and business development from the ground up. Funding should go to sustainable solutions that create long lasting change for the citizens of Baltimore.
Writer/Spoken Word Artist/Activist / Teacher
“The city needs to care about our youth. They have money… but the problem is they keep giving it to people with no passion or vision. There are many of programs that support our young people. Unfortunately those programs don’t receive the proper funding they need to survive long enough to make a difference.”
The expectations I have for the new mayor of Baltimore are for there to be better enrichment programs in inner city schools and hopefully in due time for new Rec centers to be developed, that way the youth have somewhere safe to constructively burn off steam.
“Legalizations and taxation of marijuana…look at Denver…look at D.C…Also I would like to see clearer delineation on what is live entertainment in Baltimore City, perhaps even a redefinition of the term to reflect more modern times.”