Editor’s Note: The Baltimore Riots turned into world headlines with every single network station devoting entire broadcasts to the story. This is a snapshot of a week in review that began with peaceful protests during this past weekend. But that ended Monday when rioters turned that peace into violence, leaving the residents in tears that their neighborhood, and businesses were destroyed. However, those tears of sadness eventually turned into tears of joy when State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six officers with the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.
Monday, April 27: Riots and fires broke out in West Baltimore near Mondawmin Mall. After an unrelated protest near the area, the rampage officially began after several high school students threw rocks at police officers. The students said they were left stranded near the Mondawmin bus station after the MTA shut service down early. Soon afterwards, rioters began looting local businesses and setting afire police cars along with other vehicles, and a CVS Pharmacy. Gov. Larry Hogan called in the National Guard and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a curfew beginning Tuesday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m in Baltimore City.
Tuesday April 28: , Activists and volunteers organized a clean-up effort, picking up debris leftover from the turmoil, though some of the trash had been there long before April 27. The hashtag #BaltimoreUprising took the place of #BaltimoreRiots as the community – those of West Baltimore and the surrounding area – pledged cooperation to build a better Baltimore and, ultimately, bring justice for Freddie Gray.
Wednesday, April 29: Thousands of Baltimore residents marched toward City Hall as a response to the Baltimore riots. The march was a congregation of two separate protests combined: the first, called Campus Connection, was organized by Towson University students John Dennis Gillespie and Korey Johnson while the second, the #BaltimoreUprising group, was recruited by Deray McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, two activists featured on Fortune’s “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” list.
The event kicked off at Pennsylvania Station. Before being joined by McKesson, Elzie, and the separate group, the Campus Connection crowd consisted of students from Towson University, Goucher College, UMBC, MICA, UMD, and Johns Hopkins, among others. A number of the students wore school t-shirts to represent their schools.
Joining the students were Baltimore residents, freelance journalists, and niche interest groups such as a punker who brought free barbeque for protesters. When asked who they were affiliated with, they responded with, “We’re just a bunch of punks, yo.”
The #BaltimoreUprising crowd marched south on Charles Street toward Penn Station to join the students. As Johns Hopkins’ students, Mt. Vernon’s citizens, parents, grandparents, and children converged, the Campus Connection students could be heard chanting, “Tell the truth and stop the lies! Freddie Gray didn’t have to die!”.
Before the group mobilized, activist Korey Johnson spoke to the crowd through a megaphone.
“If you are here to promote your own political agenda do not come” Johnson said. “Do not walk with us, because this is solely for the purpose of justice, solely for the purpose of Freddie Gray, solely for the purpose of protesting the police Bill of Rights that allows people to extrajudicially kill blacks.”
Johnson listed the rules for the march. These rules were meant to ensure there would be no violence. She mentioned the number for protesters to call for legal assistance in case they were arrested.
Meanwhile, as the protesters began marching down Charles Street toward East Lexington Street, police helicopters monitored the demonstration. National Guardsmen in riot gear watched from behind barriers as the protesters passed by. But, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., no violence broke out during the peaceful protest.
The march consisted of thousands of followers; so many that the red Ford truck carrying the organizers and several photographers had to stop for the rest to catch up. During these stops, students from Goucher, Towson, and Johns Hopkins voiced their frustrations with the current state of the American judicial system.
One Hopkins’ student recounted an occasion during his freshman year, when campus police allegedly called him an “illegal alien” and told him he “didn’t belong in this country.” His story was met with cheers from the protesters and a few disappointed frowns from surrounding policemen.
Thursday April 30: The imposed curfew led to several hundred arrests though many were released without charges. Businesses continued to complain about the lost revenue, while people – frustrated of the slow progress in the state investigation – started comparing the presence of so much law enforcement to a police state. The community continued to work together with hundreds of volunteers packing brooms and helping others clean up the destruction that was left behind from Monday’s riot.
Friday, May 1: State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six officer in connection with the death of Freddie Gray. Officer Caesar R. Goodman, Jr., Officer William G. Porter, Lt. Brian W. Rice, Officer Edward M. Nero, Officer Garrett E. Miller, and Sgt. Alicia D. White. Following the announcement, thousands of Baltimore citizens gathered peacefully at McKeldin Square for another march; the turn-out was larger than before, boasting more than 3,000 protesters who cheered loudly because Mosby heard their voices.
Kaila Philo is currently a student of the University of Maryland: Baltimore County. She studies English with concentrations in writing and journalism. She hopes to eventually become a novelist, and poet.
She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where she spends her days reading books and eating pie, wanting nothing more in life than to leave a lasting positive impact in the world. You can find her on WordPress at http://kailanthropy.wordpress.com. Follow her on Twitter at @kailanthropy