What Baltimore Really Needs Is… Kindness?

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Baltimore design consultant Jessica Watson has an idea about how to improve things in Baltimore — and around the world. She thinks we should be kinder. She’s so invested in the idea, in fact, that she’s created an online campaign (28 Days of Kindness) encouraging people to perform at least one good deed a day this month. ( Something must be in the air — love perhaps? — because website Cool Progeny is hosting a similar campaign today with its Little Lion Challenge, which we wrote about yesterday. Read about it here.)

“When you look at the news … there’s a lot of negative things that are occurring,” Watson told the Baltimore Sun. “These are such great times to band together and be there for each other.”

I hate to admit it, but my first reaction to Watson’s project was kneejerk cynicism. Kindness? We need better infrastructure, more school funding, less violence — I could go on. Kindness sounds nice, but it isn’t lifting anyone out of poverty, after all. “Our goal is remind people that no matter where they are in their lives, there are ways to realize and enjoy the love and kindness they have all around them.” Oh yeah? Tell that to a homeless person who can’t get a shelter bed in the middle of a cold snap.

But does it really have to be one or the other — hard-nosed realism or open-heartedness? I certainly hope not. In these dark days of February, it can be useful to have a reminder of how important it is to treat each other with a little fundamental human kindness. It doesn’t cost anything, after all.

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