Wendell Pierce’s column about Baltimore

Actor Wendell Pierce has a column in the Washington Post this week about how artists like himself can help to change the way young people respond when tragedies like Freddie Gray happen in their communities.


Wendell Pierce starred in HBO’s The Wire and Treme. The Wire took place in Baltimore. He mentions the similarities between Baltimore and his hometown of New Orleans.

I’m not a native son of Baltimore, but the city welcomed me and became a second home during the seven years I lived there part-time filming “The Wire.” I know the neighborhood where Freddie Gray’s tragic death took place. I recognize the residents, who may be materially poor but are spiritually rich. And I feel the parallels between Baltimore and my hometown of New Orleans: majority-black cities struggling to emerge from years of economic decline and high unemployment.

Both have police forces that have been repeatedly accused of abuse, overstepping their boundaries as civil servants and responding to the people they’re sworn to protect as if they had no civil or human rights. In the case of both cities, citizens have had to watch as outside interests invest in and develop parts of their cities without the involvement or interest of lifelong residents. It seems, sometimes, that gentrifiers think they’ve discovered and rescued some treasure that no one else recognized or valued. And when they see rioting, of the kind that we saw this week in Baltimore, it only reinforces their perceptions. But nothing could be further from the truth.

He also states:

Ask economist Nouriel Roubini, who explains that in response to this crisis, the solution “can’t just be to send more police in the streets or the National Guard,” but instead, “We have to deal with this issue of poverty, of unemployment and economic opportunities.”

His column also mentions how the city of Baltimore has taken from the poor and invested heavily into the tourist area of the Inner Harbor, how he’s praying for Baltimore, his hometown of New Orleans and other cities, how their needs to be a trust created between the people and elected officials and continue to tell the untold stories of those who feel their voices don’t matter.

Check out the entire article here at the Washington Post.

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