On Tuesday night, more than 500 ministers gathered at the Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, Maryland for a town hall meeting to discuss the #OneBaltimore movement and what faith leaders from different denominations can do to change the city in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death and subsequent riots.
Roland Martin and NewsOne Now were on hand during the meeting to capture some of the sights and sounds of this historic gathering after violent protests and riots left much of Baltimore in chaos Monday night.
On Wednesday, Martin and a distinguished panel of guests, including former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume, Jeff Johnson, Farajii Muhammad, Peace Coordinator for Peace by Piece, and the NewsOne Now Straight Talk panel discussed how the #OneBaltimore initiative can impact the current situation on the ground and establish long-lasting change.
Mfume told Martin that it is critically important that faith leaders use their infrastructure to help move the city forward, because “you can’t sit around and assume that the government is going to do it, that the White House or the Congress in Washington is going to do it.”
“It really gets down to who’s on the ground, who knows the people and who has a vested interest there about protecting the community.”
Mfume commended the gathering of faith leaders and over 2,000 attendees who “did not allow their differences of religion to divide them in terms of this particular issue.”
NewsOne Now panelist Parris Dennard hoped that #OneBaltimore and other initiatives like it would produce a 2016 urban agenda so that officials can be held accountable and say “what are you going to do for education, school choice, HBCUs, economic redevelopment, investments.”
Farajii Muhammad, Peace Coordinator for Peace by Piece, explained that “there has to be a lot of strength in this … #OneBaltimore can not be a weak-kneed, milk-toasted type of coalition.”
“We’re not begging for justice at this point, we’re demanding justice.”
Muhammad continued, “We have to make sure that we have a strong spine for brother Freddie Gray and making sure that this thing does not become a political situation where the strength, the power, the energy of young people is not at the very root of it.”
“I want to make sure that my people, my community, my generation knows that this is a movement that’s about them, for them, and that this is a movement based upon their interests.”
All that and more in this edition of the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast.