"Y'all thought Baltimore was just The Wire...what you failed to realize is the power to rise up!"
Erricka Bridgeford aka E. Wonder
[Erricka is a Baltimore activist and worked to get Maryland's death penalty law repealed in 2013. She is the founder and co-organizer of the quarterly 72-hour "Ceasefire" weekends.]
Have you ever been affected by Baltimore violence? After having attended two funerals of sibling friends who died due to violence, two friends murdered and having a brother shot (he lived), it changed the way I looked at my city. I ultimately moved to Charlotte with my late husband and children.
After the death of my husband, I formed Black Women Widows Empowered and vowed to give back to Baltimore any way that I could so in 2016 and 2017, I held events for widows. They were both successful but I realized I needed to do more. After learning on my birthday yesterday that Baltimore Ceasefire had agreed to partner, it was a pleasant birthday surprise.
How It Started
In May 2017, a Ceasefire started in Baltimore as a city-wide call asking Baltimore residents to avoid having any murders from Friday, August 4th through Sunday, August 6th, 2017. It was also a city-wide call asking Baltimore residents to celebrate life during the ceasefire by joining with others to plan and participate in what we call life-affirming events.
The August 2017 Baltimore Ceasefire/Baltimore Peace Challenge was historical for Baltimore City. There were over 50 events, countless residents received the resources they needed, and there was no murder for a total of 67 out of the 72 hours. At a time when the statistic was one murder every nineteen hours in Baltimore, the beginning of the August 2017 Ceasefire saw 41 continuous hours without murder.
Black Women Widows Empowered will partner with Baltimore Ceasefire as a resource 'go-to' for those women whose husbands or partners were affected by violence during the designated ceasefire weekends. (More details to come).
BWWE founder Sabra Robinson couldn't be more honored. "I'm excited for this partnership with Baltimore Ceasefire. My desire is that there be zero killings - period - in Baltimore but if it can happen during these designated weekends, a mom, a brother, a sister, a cousin, a friend, a partner or spouse would never be able to get that dreaded call. I just pray I'm never needed."
Check out their posters, Grammy-nominated music video and Erricka Bridgeford's TEDx Talk.
How You Can Help
The ultimate goal of Baltimore Ceasefire 365 is for everyone in the city to commit to zero murders. In doing the outreach for ceasefire weekends, residents are:
-helping each other get the resources they need in their lives
-having conversations with each other about how to handle conflict differently
-making commitments to one another to be non-violent in thoughts, words, and deeds, for AT LEAST the ceasefire weekend.
Throughout the year, this movement serves as a hub for organizations and citizens to support one another, work together, and share resources with the goal of seeing an end to murder in Baltimore City.
BWWE looks forward to working with the Baltimore Ceasefire team and hope that you can share this initiative with family and friends.