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Mayor Announces Initiative To Heal City

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Thursday, from the center of the city’s unrest, a new collaboration between business, government and community organizations to address immediate needs and address systemic problems raised by last week’s riots.

The One Baltimore initiative is described as a comprehensive public-private collaboration to address immediate community needs as well as solve systemic issues such as education and job opportunities, health disparities and affordable housing.

“If we are going to have real healing in our city and a real recovery, it has to be a coordinated and overarching effort to leverage all of this energy that we have in Baltimore; all of this financial support and all of this goodwill,” the mayor said while surrounded by politicians and leaders of community, business and faith organizations.

The mayor made the announcement at the CVS pharmacy that was looted and set ablaze at North and Pennsylvania avenues in Penn North.

She said starting the initiative is a “once in a lifetime effort to attack the systemic inequalities that effect all aspects of our city.”

The initiative is not to be confused with the One Baltimore coalition of community activists groups which recently protested city water shut offs to residents.

Mayoral spokesman Howard Libit said the mayor’s initiative is a broader effort to address inequality in city neighborhoods.

“[Using] the hashtag One Baltimore and [the] website will clearly distinguish [the initiative] in terms of both the short term recovery efforts and the long term plans to address the systemic change that’s needed for the city,” Libit said.

The website for the initiative says the website is currently under construction. 

Rawlings-Blake said the plan for One Baltimore will be rolled out as discussions are held with leaders to develop a plan to address issues.