Another robbery, another assault and some see it as just another day in Baltimore. The news reports catalog each incident with yet another headline pointing to one or several Baltimore youth doing something hurtful again. Citizens are demanding answers from the Mayor and law enforcement officials. “You have got to get tougher on crime,” they say. “Bring back the curfew,” some suggest.
However, has anyone, ANYONE, bothered to ask, why youth are behaving in this manner?
If you keep treating the symptoms—robbery, assault or murder—and not the cause, the problem will keep coming back and sometimes worse than it was before. Citizens of Baltimore—we are in that space. We must do something about youth-involved crime. However, we must tackle this problem differently. We need to RETHINK.
Rethink Baltimore, a juvenile justice awareness campaign, is going to Baltimore neighborhoods and community members to find out the complex reality that youth face. We are gathering their stories. Our goal is to find out the “why” and listen to the solutions that citizens are not only recommending but also doing. This is a community effort that will help open our collective eyes and to help change the youth narrative.
We want social and juvenile justice reforms that include addressing the “why.” Youth should be held accountable when they do harm. No doubt. However, we cannot hold them accountable in a vacuum because if we do, they won’t rebound but re-offend.
Simply put, we need to RETHINK, BALTIMORE!
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Rethink Baltimore is an initiative by Advocates for Children and Youth with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and OSI-Baltimore.