Too Close to Home

by Abby on April 27, 2015

On Saturday night neither my kids nor I could sleep, but for different reasons. They were beyond excited about going to Little League Day at Camden Yards the next day. They were going to see the Red Sox and Orioles play, and they would get to walk onto the field in their uniforms and meet the players. Meanwhile, my husband and I were anxiously following the news that at that moment just outside the stadium, mere miles from our house, violence was erupting.

Over 1,000 people had gathered downtown earlier in the day to protest the death of Freddie Gray, a 25yo black man who died in police custody the previous week. Criminal and civil rights investigations are underway. What started as a peaceful protest turned violent as night fell. The stadium was locked down.

Tweet: Camden Yards lockdown April 25On my phone, I flipped through page after page of photos of broken store windows, people standing on top of police cars smashing the windshields with trashcans and traffic cones, rows of police in riot gear with helmets and shields, protesters screaming and holding up signs. Comparisons to Ferguson, Mo. were made. Between the news clips and updates, people on both sides of the issue spewed vitriol on Twitter. My heart fell. This was too close to home.

I felt like the more I read and watched and tried to educate myself, the less I knew for sure. What I do know is that this is a terrible, terrible mess. My job as a parent is to love my children and keep them safe. As they get older and more exposed to what goes on in the world, I feel pressure to explain, to help them make sense of these events. But how do you explain something like this?

Of all the things I saw last night, this video tweeted out by a Baltimore Sun crime reporter hit me the hardest. It’s a short clip of Baltimore Police Captain D.A. Carter-Bey talking with a young protester. This is what breaks my heart: the young man is clearly so desperate to be heard. The captain is so obviously trying to really listen and validate him. This is not police vs. suspect, black vs. white. This is not what you see on the front pages. This is two people who both agree that a terrible thing happened that no one wanted to happen.

In my life, the angriest I ever get with my husband, my kids, anyone, is when I feel that I am not being heard or respected. Did you hear what I said? Do you understand where I am coming from? Can you put yourself in my shoes for a second and see why I feel this way? We all want to feel safe and heard and valued.

Little League Day went on as planned. The sun came out again. And yet, my heart is still heavy, and still, I worry. For my kids, and for our world.

Peaceful Camden Yards April 26

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen Basi May 11, 2015 at 8:37 pm

I didn’t realize I was this far behind on my blog reader. I just wanted you to know I hear you.

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Abby May 12, 2015 at 9:16 am

thanks, Kate. I’m way behind on my blog reading, too. Hope you are well!

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