Friday is October 12, the 285th day of the year. So far in 2018, Baltimore has seen 244 homicides, averaging nearly one a day.
A national organization, Black Women for Positive Change, will kick off on Saturday a week of non-violence in 40 cities across the country, including Baltimore. The week of non-violence will include peace through song, positive movies, essay contests, and more.
"Research shows that education is tied to violence," explained Crystal Francis, the co-chair of Black Women for Positive Change in Baltimore. "We know that individuals who drop out of school have a higher propensity to commit violent activity and resort in crime, you may have heard of what we call the school to prison pipeline. So our focus is to create opportunities as alternatives to violence such as engaging our youth in training, how to have conflict resolution, anger management, and de-escalation.”
The number of homicides and violent crime happening in Baltimore is a concern for many who live in there, and that includes Jasmine Jennings, the mother of a teenage son.
“Is my child going to come home to me? That’s my primary concern first and foremost," said Jennings. When he is coming home, or going to the gas station to pump gas for me, is something going to happen? Just randomly, spontaneously?”
Jennings said her son's father, and her fiance, was killed years ago from gun violence. Soon after he died his brother was killed as well. Something that affected not only her but her son as well.
“I have a father figure, but they are not actually my real birth father," explained Eric Queen, Jenning's son. "I mean I deal with it now, but there used to be a lot of struggles to go on because I did not have a father figure, I didn’t really look up to other people like that.”
Jennings said she thinks violence stems from a lack of opportunity, lack of support, and a lack of wanting life. She says though her son didn't have it easy growing up, she hopes the lessons she instilled in him will help guide him on the right path,
“I hope for him to go far, I hope for him not to be a part of gangs, I hope he will use his mind which me and the family and his coaches have been guiding him towards, and his goals of going to college are not going to be strayed.”
If you are interested in learning more about the week of non-violence and see what events are going on in the Baltimore area click here.