BALTIMORE — All last week the spotlight was on Fells Point as the city moved a heavy police presence and poured resources in response to a violent weekend and outcry from businesses and people who live there.
On Monday, pastors from the Penn North neighborhood partnered with candidates who ran for office in the last election for a town hall at Simmons Memorial Baptist Church.
The people at the meeting said what they and their families have to live through everyday is unacceptable.
The people who live and work in Penn North are fed up with the open air drug market, the violence, and the loss of potential in their young people.
“I’m tired of the trash being in our community,” said Shirell Tyner. “I’m just sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
“Let the police be the second line but let the community members be the front line,” said Mekkah X Mohammed. “I guarantee you’ll see how it changes.”
A panel of pastors from the community and several people who ran for office in Baltimore City lead a panel to answer questions from the room of residents.
The organizers told the crowd that city officials were invited, but they were not in attendance.
At the same time as the meeting a man was shot at Mondawmin Mall a few miles away and Mayor Brandon Scott was at the scene.
Pastor Duane Simmons hosted the meeting.
“You arrest one group on the street guess what? Another group is going to take its place,” Simmons said. “Unless we start solving the problem at the core and at the source. You can’t solve the problem until you talk to the problem. In the mouth of the problem is the solution.”
Business owners from Fells Point were in attendance to show that the services they demanded should be delivered in Fells Point and every other part of the city.
“Clearly there are some inequities in what’s going on,” said Su Casa owner Nick Johnson. “The fundamental basics of the trash isn’t being picked up. There is open air drug dealing and open consumption. Basic law enforcement isn’t happening. Those are the exact things brought up in this town hall here and those are the same things we’ve been discussing in Fells Point.”