Written by Paul Easterling
Wednesday morning April 29, 2015, less than a mile from Patapsco and Washington Ave in South Baltimore, while looking after my toddler sons at the playground of our apartment complex, the deep feeling of terror came over me as I realized I did not have my cell phone with me. The terror was not caused by the thought that I might miss a call, text or post on Facebook, but from the feeling of helplessness because I was caught without any means of protection against the police. Cell phones may be the only protection many people have against a “servant of the peace” with ill-intention. Carrying a gun or knife is not a viable option for me, or many others like me, because that only serves as reason and justification for police violence. All we have are recording devices which can document the unbiased truth of any incident. And here I was, caught out in public with two young and precious lives without any means to protect them besides my wits, my two-hands and the off chance a person may walk by armed with a cell-phone.
Nothing happened to me or my kids as they eventually got bored by the fact that no other kids were around and wanted to go home. But the feeling of helplessness lingered with me throughout the week as my family and I watched the unrest within our community from the safety of our homes. Police terroristic violence against American residents of poor neighborhoods, particularly along racial lines, is a well-documented problem that has persisted since the law enforcement institutions of American states, counties and cities have existed. The only advantage in living with this problem during the technological age is that fact that victims of police violence and abuse can record these incidents and spread them across the country (and the world) with relative ease and speed using their handheld devices.
Audio-visual technology is a phenomenon that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took advantage of over fifty years ago in the rural American south to get the world to realize the severity of the problem of racial segregation and violence in the United States. He strategically created circumstances for cameras to capture the brutality, as well for the world to witness and experience the terror of Black life in America.  Kevin Moore, the young man who recorded Freddie Gray’s arrest, worked within the same parameters of this historical protest strategy. This is to say that technology can help give validity to the voices that call for action against police subjugation and brutality. For a critically minded and well-informed public, it is not enough to just say what is, there must be proof. Audio-visual technology helps to provide that proof and the technology of social media allows it to spread across the world at a rapid pace, making it extremely difficult for violators of human rights to maintain innocence in the face of obvious guilt. Therefore, I applaud the efforts of citizens to document the horror of Black life in America and encourage the continuation of this strategy as it is historically grounded as a viable weapon against police terrorism.
Furthermore, the tradition of active resistance against oppression is also very much historically supported in Maryland. For instance, Harriet Tubman of Dorchester County, Maryland, reminds us to: “Never wound a snake: kill it.” As well Frederick Douglass, from Talbot County, Maryland, argues that “the thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes the rebellion.” In addition, Thurgood Marshall, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, maintains that “sometimes history takes things into its own hands.” Lastly, in pursuit of justice for Freddie Gray, the residents of Baltimore this week echoed the sentiments of one of its fictional icons from the show The Wire, Omar Little, who reminds us all that when justice is withheld in such an egregious manner in Baltimore, the people will “huff and puff.” These quotes demonstrate in a qualitative way the spirit of resistance that comes from Maryland’s most notable African American icons, both historical and fictional. This is only to suggest that what happened in Baltimore this past week is in line with the historical patterns and cultural ethos of African people who reside in the state of Maryland. Thus, I encourage those who can and will to fight on!
 In the last year alone there are the cases of: Michael Brown in Fergeson, Missouri, Eric Garner of Staten Island, Tarika Wilson from Lima, Ohio, Aiyana Jones of Detroit, Michigan, Walter Scott from Charleston, South Carolina, Tamir Rice of Cleveland and Rekia Boyd of Chicago. Those are just the cases that managed to make national news which says nothing about those cases that only made region news or that were not reported at all.
 Martin Luther King, Jr. Why We Can’t Wait. (New York: New American Library, 1964).
 Baltimore Sun, Sunday May 3, 20154 “Man who shot Freddie Gray arrest video: “I finally made a difference.”
 I further applaud the efforts of the protestors because they once again proved their morality and humanity over and above the police department by the very fact that throughout all of the unrest not one cop was killed. The Baltimore Police Department cannot make such a boast as this problem was caused initially by the killing of an unarmed Black man in restraints.
 Iam A. Freeman, Seeds of Revolution: Collection of Axioms, Passages and Proverbs, Volume 2. (Bloomington: iUniverse LLC, 2009), 43.
 Frederick Douglass, The Essential Frederick Douglass (Radford: Wilder Publications, 2008), 675.
 Mark DeYmamaz, Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church: Mandate, Commitments, and Practices of a Diverse Congregation (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007), 13.
 Omar Little. The Wire (season 1, episode 9).
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