This spring, when the national media turned its spotlight on Baltimore, a lot of people were repeating the truism that there are “two Baltimores.”
It’s true that the city suffers from shocking inequality across dozens of metrics, from employment to health outcomes. There are social and cultural schisms within the city. The Baltimore Sun’s amazing infographic about last year’s record number of homicides illustrates another side of this disparity: 93 percent of those who were killed were black. And 93 percent were male.
But Adam Marton, the Sun’s director of interactive design (and the man who created that infographic) also provides an interesting example of how those of us who live in the city are all interconnected, even as we may also be separated by gulfs of privilege. On his personal Facebook page, Marton shared the story of a time that his life intersected with one of the men who was one of last year’s homicide victims, a 28-year-old man named Thelonious Monk:
The Huffington Post described this story as revealing the chasm between white and black Baltimore. You could see it that way; you could also see it as a reminder that we all live in the same city, and that even if we are fortunate enough to not have to think about poverty and violence on a daily basis, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t touch us — and our neighbors, and our fellow city residents. Compassion is the first step, but it can’t stop there.