Amid Baltimore Protests, These Residents Held a Town Meeting on the Street – Next City

Amid Baltimore Protests, These Residents Held a Town Meeting on the Street

On Tuesday, the day after protests over the death of Freddie Gray in police custody ended in rioting, fires and arrests, several thousand people returned to the intersection of Pennsylvania and West North Avenues in West Baltimore. Next to a now-infamous CVS store burned out by a Monday night fire and a line of police with shields and batons, a group of demonstrators held an impromptu town meeting or teach-in of sorts. They debated the contentious issues of race, policing and violence that have long plagued the community. Here, some photos and thoughts from the people at that gathering.

Mario Reyes, 34, IT consultant for CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). Reyes said that he came out to demonstrate because his job shut down earlier in the day because of the protest, so he decided to help clean up, bringing garbage bags and work gloves.

Marcus Young, 47, carpenter. Young was marching “for freedom. For my grandson. And then his son, and so on and so on.” Pointing to the line of police, he said, “we need to know why they are getting away with killing us.”

Nathen Brown, 19, shoe salesman. Brown said he was protesting “to show support. This is history in the making. This is a pivotal point for Baltimore that will be remembered.”

Sade Parker, 29, owner of a property management company. Parker was protesting to demand “protection for everyone. Equal rights for everyone. Not just black people. I was born and raised in Baltimore City.”

Gerald King, 25. Explaining why he was protesting, he said, “the owners of that destroyed CVS drugstore make millions. The workers make $8 an hour. Had it not been for yesterday, we wouldn’t be having this forum to talk today. My cousin got shot two weeks ago.”

Reynard Parks, 22, works in public relations for the Baltimore Ravens. “I know the police for killing and shooting,” Parks said. Pointing to the destroyed CVS, he continued, “I came out to converse. We need to speak to each other, because I am more important than a building.”

Cassandra Thomas, 26, nurse. Thomas said she was protesting because “nobody has a voice. Freddie Gray cannot talk. We are fighting for justice.”

Alan Chin was born and raised in New York City’s Chinatown. Since 1996, he has worked in China, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Central Asia. Domestically, Alan has followed the historic trail of the Civil Rights movement, documented the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and covered the 2008 presidential campaign. He is a contributing photographer to Newsweek, the New York Times and BagNews, an editor and photographer at Newsmotion and a photographer at Facing Change: Documenting America (FCDA). Alan’s work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

Tags: public spacepolicebaltimoreprotests