We Will No Longer Be Silent: Structural Racism in the York Road Corridor Must Be Addressed

This past Saturday, as reported in the Baltimore Sun, protesters marched against structural and systemic racism in the York Road Corridor in Baltimore, Maryland.  I commend Thaen Hardy for organizing the protest.  It was long overdue.

For decades, York Road has been a racial dividing line separating black people and white people, poor people and affluent people. The York Road Corridor is separate and unequal.  The west side of York Road, including Guilford and Homeland neighborhoods, is predominantly white and prosperous.  Many residents on the west side live in luxurious homes and their children attend elite private schools such as Gilman, Bryn Mawr, and Friends School of Baltimore. The east side of York Road, including communities such as Woodbourne McCade and Greater Govans, is predominantly African American and poor.  On the west side of York Road, there are abandoned buildings, open air drug markets, failing schools, and streets littered with trash and hopelessness.

2016 Vital Signs BNIA Indicators and other reports highlight stark differences between black and white communities in income, education, employment and life expectancy.  According to the 2016 Vital Signs BNIA Indicators, the median income in Greater Govans is $39,829.  The median income in North Baltimore/Guilford/Homeland is $83,787, over twice the Greater Govans median income. In Greater Govans, 34% of residents have a bachelor's degree or above.  In North Baltimore/Guilford/Homeland, 74% of residents have a bachelor's degree or above, over twice the rate of Greater Govans.  According to Baltimore City Health Department Neighborhood Profiles, the life expectancy is 73 years old in the Greater Govans.  The life expectancy is 84 years old in North Baltimore/Guilford/Homeland.  The unemployment rate in Greater Govans is over twice the unemployment rate in North Baltimore/Guilford/Homeland.

This inequality is not a coincidence.  It is a direct result of decades of city sponsored segregation, racially restricted covenants, red lining and benign neglect.  For far too long, this injustice has been glossed over and conveniently ignored.

We will no longer remain silent.  It is a new day.  Today, former competing candidates for Baltimore City Council District 4 Anson Asaka, Angie Winder, Zac Dingle and Tim Goldsby have united for justice.  Together with Thaen Hardy and others, we are going to aggressively and unapologetically push a black agenda in this district, in City Hall and the General Assembly.  That agenda will focus education, community investment, economic equality, business development, healthcare, police accountability, community policing, food deserts and other top priorities. 

The days when politicians can pander to white communities while ignoring the concerns of black communities are over. It is a new day.  We will demand that all of our politicians address the concerns of neglected black communities.   

We encourage all people of goodwill to join this effort.  Yesterday's march was a seed for change.  The march was just the beginning.  Together, we can end apartheid in this District.


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