This past weekend I went up to Baltimore with friends. We went on Saturday, May 2 which on social media was being called #BlackSpring, for a big gathering and protest at Baltimore City Hall. When we arrived, we went down to the Inner Harbor to relax a bit before the afternoon. But standing around the touristy part of the city were dozens of National Guard members and police in military gear, holding assault rifles, hopping in and out of armored cars, and generally acting like they were in a war zone.
We went because our friend Ryan Herring, who I worked with for a year at Sojourners, was coming home to Baltimore for the weekend and he invited us to join the protest and march. Ryan grew up in Baltimore, and since his year at Sojourners ended he’s been (from my perspective) all over the country, in the thick of the #BlackLivesMatter movement – in Ferguson, in Louisville, and on occasion, he graces us with his presence in DC. The last time he was in the District a dozen of us met at a friend’s house to get updates from the road and ask him about the movement.
Ryan has taught me two basic takeaways from what’s going on these days (well, other things too but I’ll start off simple): one, there is a movement, and it’s being led by young black Americans like Ryan. Two, Twitter is, in Ryan’s words, integral. Continue reading