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Thousands Protest Racism And Police Brutality in Baltimore This Weekend

  Thousands of people marched across Baltimore for a second consecutive weekend in multiple demonstrations to protest racism and police brutality and demand equal treatment under the law.


Ahead of one of Saturday’s protests, a large group assembled on North Charles Street in Old Goucher, some in cars but most on foot. As the march progressed across North Avenue and down Greenmount Avenue, people continued to join the protest. By the time the group passed the Baltimore City Correctional Center, then Douglas Homes, it looked like an endless river of people and spanned several city blocks. 


Kelly Wallace said she was leaving her church and heading to the grocery store when she stumbled across the group. She decided to join in, a plastic Safeway bag swinging from her arm.


“Why not?” she said. “It’s for a good cause. It’s what we’re supposed to be out here doing."


A couple of police helicopters hovered overhead as she spoke, her words slightly muffled by the mask she wore to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 


“Everybody say, oh, we humans, we humans, we humans. Well, if we really humans, then the color of our skin shouldn’t even matter,” Wallace said. “We shouldn’t even be out here today, but we are.”


As the group marched, people joined in the chants from the doors and windows of their homes. When the group passed the jail, people could be heard joining the chants and cheering from inside the brick perimeter.


People carried signs reading “Black Lives Matter,” listing the names of people killed by police, and calling to “defund police.” 


Charles Wilson, who wore a Colin Kaepernick jersey, was one of many people whose signs featured a Malcolm X quote. On the other side of his sign, it read, “‘Nah.’ - Rosa Parks.”


Wilson said his dad encouraged activism from a young age. He came from Silver Spring to march with his girlfriend and his cousin on Saturday.


“Being a black man and growing up in America, I mean, I’ve personally faced a lot of racism,” Wilson said. “Any way I can show a stance against oppression and injustice, I’ll do so.”


Tiana Boardman, a law student at the University of Baltimore, carried a sign that read, “I didn’t go to law school to be murdered by you.” Boardman said she wants to be a civil rights lawyer, with a focus on violations by law enforcement and correctional officers.


“We’re being killed by law enforcement for no reason,” Boardman said. “We shouldn’t be punished for being black. We should be able to live like everybody else.”


Meanwhile, hundreds more joined a protest that started on Morgan State University’s campus.


“We cannot do this by ourselves,” said Joy Barnes, addressing the group outside the Baltimore City Police Department’s Northeast District station. “One person can make a change. A bunch of people can make a better change. Enough people we can change the whole planet — we got the whole globe screaming, ‘black lives matter.’”


There were more protests downtown Saturday night and during the day on Sunday, and still more are expected Monday afternoon.


Producer Mark Gunnery contributed to this report.

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom.
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