Baltimore Had A Plan!
Once again, we find ourselves in the midst of an unnecessary controversy. I am further convinced that there exists an effort to intentionally drive wedges between well-meaning American citizens. Our busy lifestyles make us vulnerable to the 24-hour news cycle. Last night, in the cover of darkness, four Confederate Statues were removed in Baltimore City. Many of us woke up to sensational headlines that set many of us in state of alarm.
While people filed into their assigned corners for combative encounters (myself included), one of my favorite local talkshow hosts, C4 on WBAL, tossed out an interesting fact that went largely overlooked. A couple of years ago, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, then Mayor of Baltimore City, appointed a commission to cover this very topic. It took a little digging, but I was able to find the report in it’s entirety. It was submitted, August 16th, 2016. You can follow this link to investigate for yourself: [https://mayor.baltimorecity.gov/news/featured-headlines/2016-09-13-baltimore’s-public-confederate-monuments-report] Personally, I was largely unaware of the existence of this report, and I know that many other residents felt the same.
I read through the report, and I recommended that all residents take the 15 minutes or so to read the report. I expect that many people will be baffled that this report has not been the center of discussion for months now. The report lays out a frank history of the four monuments in question, along with extremely reasonable steps to ameliorate the nature of their origins. Keep in mind, this was a report produced by a group of professional experts, appointed by the Mayor of Baltimore.
There are a few items of interest to note from this report. First, the report concluded that while the monuments where indeed part of a racial propaganda effort, the strategy to address them is rather complex. The report affirms that monuments are reminders as opposed to celebratory, and add value in more ways than merely political statements. Second, I noted that there are connections between the Maryland General Assembly and at least one of these monuments, in the form of financial support. It’s tempting to overlook, but I feel this contributes to complex nature of these monuments. Third, I note that the report included recommendations that I thought were extremely reasonable. In fact, the commission actually recommended that 2 monuments NOT be removed. Another was recommended to be relocated to a contextually relevant site.
These are just a few interesting observations that lead me to question why Mayor Pugh did not accept the recommendations of the commission. Was this entire effort a waste of resources? More importantly, we need to ask ourselves why this incredibly relevant contribution to the discussion has not been included in more mainstream media discussions. Had I seen this report, and been given an opportunity to weigh in on the recommendations, I would have been an enthusiastic supporter of taking these steps. It’s possible that the opportunity was indeed there, and I wasn’t in the right circles to be aware of it, but perhaps we could have revisited the recommended actions, articulated the plans to take action, and then allow the transition to take place peacefully, and with the blessing of the public. This is how we lead. Bee Indee!