The intersection of North Ave. and Pennsylvania Ave. was a site of heartbreak on Monday night for many as the riot raged on. On Tuesday, Baltimoreans were looking to help – and heal. Throughout the city, there were cleanups, prayer vigils, and meetups at community centers. By the end of the day, you might have thought that Baltimoreans were exhausted. But that just wasn’t the case.
Police blocked North and Pennsylvania from traffic and by the afternoon and it made the perfect space for a mix of people, protests, and sunshine, with the cvs that had been set on fire the night before looming in the shadows. If Monday night was about hopelessness and pain, the next day seemed to be about strength and power.
Lauren Haymen, 29, grew up on the west side. She said watching the riots was gut-wrenching and she need to be out in the community. “This is a wonderful reflection of the core of Baltimore. We’re a community that is unified for goodness and I think this situation that we have right here reflects that.” Behind her a brass band of six was just getting going with “When The Saints Go Marching In” and the crowd surrounding them was basking in what seemed like a New Orleans rebirth.
Deeper into the crowd, close to the police officers at the furthest boundary of the blocked off space, there was a small group of people who had never met discussing their city and the best way to bring about the changes they want to see. Micah Nicholson, 29 said the gathering is symbolic, “people who normally wouldn’t see each other or talk to each other are now here together giving hugs and giving handshakes. It’s beautiful out here.”
Rernard Parks,22, said everyone out there wants the same thing, even if they’re expressing it differently. “People here praying with each other, us here conversing. even down to the violence going on – nobody here wants the violence going on. We from Baltimore, we see enough violence. At the end of the day, we need to come together.”
The crowd gathered there through the evening. Then the curfew went into effect at 10pm.