The plight of West Baltimore was back on the airwaves as NPR’s Rachel Martin interviewed a community activist from Sandtown about what is and is not happening in the neighborhood.
Ray Kelly is the president of the No Boundaries Coalition, a community groupwhich dedicates itself “to deconstructing boundaries and reconstructing community” in Central West Baltimore, according to its website. (They’re responsible for the annual Boundary Block Party, among other events.)
Kelly told Martin that while violence is up and police presence is down, “[i]t seems like the officers are ready to come back out and patrol the streets.” He said “it’s more the high command and the administration that wants to, for lack of a better term, research and study what’s going on when it’s the same damn thing that’s been going on for 30 or 40 years.”
You might think with all the recent media attention that morale among Sandtown residents would be bolstered, but Kelly said that isn’t the case for everyone.
“Well, it’s kind of disheartening to a community to see that we’re not progressing,” Kelly said, “even with all this national attention. Instead, we’re going backwards instead of forward. The progress that we’ve made with No Boundaries in the past couple of years, it’s like taking it back to the beginning.”
Kelly blames the stalled progress at least partly on the revolving door at the commissioner’s office. “I think in Western District, maybe in the past 10 years we’ve had five commissioners,” he said. “I mean, we build relationships. And then they switch personnel. And then there’s no relationship at all.”
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