Rioting in Baltimore: A Plea for Justice

As media coverage on the riots in Baltimore continues, WRAG president Tamara Copeland asks us to look deeper into the plight of those on the forefront of the unrest:

Yesterday, I watched as angry young men looted and rioted in Baltimore following the funeral of Freddie Gray. I heard news commentators ask what this destruction had to do with Mr. Gray’s death.  I heard commentators question the impact of the rioters’ actions on the investigations that must occur into what the police did or did not do while Mr. Gray was in custody. “Was the rioting a distraction to the real issue?” was the unstated question.

The rioting was the manifestation of what I see as the real issue. It was the release of pent up feelings that relate not just to Freddie Gray, but to Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, and countless others. What may be less recognized is that the rioting relates to years of education in school systems that focus on the easy-to-educate. It relates to years of living in unfit housing because that’s all that the family can afford based on their minimum wage job. It relates to years and generations of being un-employed or under-employed. And, it relates to years of un-recognized and often unacknowledged stress that is born from simply living in a society in which you are routinely marginalized. The resentment and anger build and build.

Freddie Gray’s death ignited so many feelings that these young men had held for years.  Was the rioting the right response?  Of course not, but it may be the only voice they have to call out for help.

– Amid protests and rising tensions in Baltimore, many are trying to make sense of the frustrations that led to the growing violence there. (CityLab, 4/28)

– What does sitting at home, Googling racist things online have to do with mortality rates for African Americans? Apparently, much more than one would imagine. (WaPo, 4/28)

Many single, young mothers find that unstable housing and unreliable childcare leads to a path of homelessness and make the tough decision to drop out of school. In the District, homeless families make up nearly half of the 12,000 homeless individuals in the region. (WaPo, 4/27)

Three-fourths of the members of these homeless families are younger than 25. The problem is particularly acute in the District, which now houses 700 homeless families at the former D.C. General Hospital and motels. Around 40 percent are headed by someone, usually a single mom, younger than 24.


Academics and advocates say homeless adolescent mothers are substantially more at risk of further pregnancies, sexual abuse, mental health issues and dropping out. The trauma they experience during these vulnerable years they carry into adulthood and the homeless family service programs.

INTERNSHIPS | WRAG is looking for a summer intern. If you know of a college or graduate student interested in learning about philanthropy and/or nonprofit development, please help us spread the word!

CSR | Last year, Boeing invested more than $188 million and thousands of volunteer hours to help enhance the lives of people and communities around the world and in our region. Their 2014 Corporate Citizenship Report provides a snapshot of their activities supporting education, the environment, military and veterans, employee volunteerism, and more.

NONPROFITS | Despite signs that the economic climate is in recovery, the demand is still very high for critical services that nonprofit organizations offer. According to the 2015 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey, 76 percent of surveyed organizations reported a rise in demand for their services, while 52 percent reported an inability to meet those demands. (PND, 4/28)

TRANSIT | The opening of the Silver Line to Loudoun has been pushed back (WBJ, 4/27)

Be honest – how many of these hairstyles have you sported over the years?

– Ciara

One thought on “Rioting in Baltimore: A Plea for Justice”

  1. Re Copeland commentary on RACIAL EQUITY: This is beautifully and succinctly put. The last sentence zings. Hope you send it to The Post’s Letters to the Editor as well.

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