Kareem Proctor had hopes of becoming a Baltimore City firefighter but after a violent attack, he is finding another way to give back to the community. (Photos by Kareem Proctor)

By Devin Walker
Special to the AFRO

Kareem Proctor, 37, dreamed of becoming a Baltimore City firefighter. Proctor was on the fire department eligibility list for five years before receiving his invitation to begin the Fire Academy. 

Unfortunately, Proctor was in the hospital recovering from nine stab wounds to the neck when his grandmother read him the offer letter. Proctor said that his grandmother hesitated showing him the letter. She did not want to add to his depression.

Proctor said that he was the victim of an unprovoked attack by an unknown assailant. He says that he was standing in line at a convenient store when the assailant asked if he had a problem. The attacker then began to stab Proctor until he collapsed. 

Since being victimized, Proctor has become an advocate for violence prevention. He partnered with Angie Smith Winder, community advocate and Baltimore Democratic State Central Committee member, becoming a mentor. Proctor is also a motivational speaker and youth football coach.

In addition to serving the community, Proctor started a career as what he calls “sit-down comedy.” He said that laughter is essential and therapeutic. 

Proctor said everyone reacts the same when he tells people he’s a comedian: 

Someone asks: “Oh, you’re doing stand-up?” 

Proctor’s answers, “No, I sit down.” 

His comedic style is a “Wheelchair perspective” on life. The main question women ask is “does it still work.” His response, “Well, it does with assistance. I use those blue pills.”

He began performing to raise money for a wheelchair-accessible van. Proctor uses MTA Mobility to complete his duties in service. MTA Mobility is the state-owned transportation service for people with disabilities. MTA Mobility has received a multitude of complaints over the years for poor services. 

In April 2019, Tina Smith, a triple amputee whose motorized wheelchair is too heavy and bulky to fit in any of her family member’s cars, waited four hours after work this week for her MTA Mobility Link driver to take her home, leaving her sobbing out of frustration.

In September 2020, MTA announced plans to significantly reduce the amount of Mobility vehicles on the road.  

The writer is a graduate student at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.