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WYPR Series

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Eli McBride shared her story with her classmates, some of whom bullied her the first time she told them she was a girl.

Her next move was to hit a Baltimore City Board of Education meeting and tell the members they needed to do more to help kids like her.

Fraser Smith

Now in its second year – and recently awarded five more years of funding from the National Cancer Institute -- the CURE scholars program aims to change the lives of 60 or more Southwest Baltimore kids and to literally change the face of medical service and research in Baltimore.

In 2001, as the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Black United Front brought a federal lawsuit against the city of Cincinnati and the police department for racial bias, a white officer in Cincinnati shot an unarmed black teenager as he fled police.

And then, along came a lengthy U.S. Department of Justice investigation that found a pattern of discriminatory practices by the department and an agreement for changes that took months to hammer out. The process of instituting those changes has lasted years. Some would say it’s ongoing.

Fraser Smith

    

A short stretch of South Arlington Avenue could go a long way toward promoting togetherness and a higher quality of life in the neighborhoods of the Southwest Partnership. The proposed South Arlington Avenue Greenway would pull the seven neighborhoods together. At the same time it would introduce visitors to area attractions – the popular Mobtown Ballroom, the Edgar Allan Poe House and the B&O Railroad Museum. 

Video: On The Watch - Tubman House

Jul 19, 2016

Last week, a Baltimore judge found Officer Edward Nero not guilty of reckless endangerment, among other charges, in the death last year of Freddie Gray.  Nero's attorneys said he wasn't aware of an updated policy that required prisoners to be seat belted when he helped put Gray in a transport van, handcuffed, with shackles, and no seatbelt.

According to the medical examiner, Gray died from injuries suffered in the back of the van.

University of Maryland Medical Center

When neighborhood leaders convinced the big university hospital nearby to join them in a community improvement project, no one thought that would lead to a role in reform of the nation’s health care system. Four years later, though, the Southwest Baltimore Partnership finds itself immersed in a program necessitated by the Affordable Care Act – aka Obamacare.

Since the death of Freddie Gray last April and the protests and unrest that followed Baltimore’s Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has talked about the changes the department needs to make to improve relations between the police and the citizens in the city.

Baltimore's homicide rate rose last year while fewer cases were reported solved.  In 2015 the homicide rate rose more than 60% from the previous year.  In 2014 there were 211 homicides reported.  The number in 2015 was 344.  At the same time fewer homicide cases were reported solved.  The percentage of homicides solved by the police is called the clearance rate.  Last year, Baltimore saw its clearance rate drop from 57% in April to 40% in June and then it dropped to 30% in August which is where it hovered for the rest of the year, an arrow pointing in the wrong direction for the city.

Big shouldered, urban "anchor" institutions have been known to try to buy community peace by promising jobs to their neighbors—like leaf raking or housekeeping chores. But the University of Maryland, Baltimore, seeking a more fundamental relationship with the Southwest Baltimore Partnership, has taken a step beyond that with its new CURE Scholars program.

On the streets, pushing for change  

Every Wednesday night for almost two and half years, Tawanda Jones and her family gather on the street with supporters trying to get justice for her brother, Tyrone West. They chant, "I can't stop.  I won’t stop. Until killer cops are in cell blocks".

Pigtown Ascending

Oct 12, 2015

Back in the day, pigs arrived in Charm City by train and hit the streets running on their way to the breakfast table.  They were doomed, of course. But they earned a measure of immortality.  The blue collar railroad and steel workers who lived here in those days started calling their neighborhood Pigtown.

On the some of the hottest days of this summer, 14-year-old LaAsia Griffin and her big brother Jamal popped a white canopy tent and set up penny candy, chips, and crackers for sale on two long tables at a busy stop light in West Baltimore's Poppleton Neighborhood.


Three weeks before he was fired, Former Police Commissioner Anthony Batts held a meeting in a basketball court adjacent to a playground in West Baltimore. The community was invited to observe the meeting police were calling “community comstat”.

Fraser Smith

Unprecedented help may be on the way the neighborhoods of southwest Baltimore.  Maryland's Baltimore-based professional schools are joining seven southwest Baltimore communities to promote workforce development, education and healthcare.