We all want the same thing. To live – and raise our children – in a safe and nurturing environment. But let’s face it. It’s a perilous world. Danger lurks everywhere and sadly, you don’t have to venture beyond the menacing streets of our own troubled city to encounter it. In the last two months of this year alone (and this month is not over), there were more than 60 shootings and 40 homicides in Baltimore City. A public safety concern, by any definition.
Now, it’s also the most basic instinct of human nature to flee from danger. There are those who suggest that it might be better to stay and fight but it is hard to argue with the most primal need to protect one’s children and want for them only the best. No one understands this more than a mother does.
Many, if not most, of our readers are mothers. Some live in the suburbs and beyond, but care deeply about the Caroline Center program and support its mission to educate the underserved women of Baltimore. Some live in the city, are committed to its promising renewal, and see Caroline Center as an integral part of that effort. And then there are the women we serve, mostly single mothers, who not only live in the city but who are often the tragic victims of its terrible violence. One only has to read their stories in these posts (see the preceding 2 stories as examples) and on our website to know that violence is a common thread in their difficult lives. Fifteen women in our current program alone were directly affected by the most recent spate of homicidal violence in Baltimore this summer. That means that 15 women in our current class lost a family member or friend to murder. We have trained nearly 2,000 women since we opened our doors in 1996 and many more of them have also lost a child, a husband, a brother, or an uncle to senseless violence. When was the last time someone asked these women about their thoughts on gun control? To make matters worse, for most of these women and their families, the violence is inescapable. They do not have the luxury of picking up and moving away.
The wonderful women who support Caroline Center see themselves in our women. They relate to our women not only as mothers but also as sisters, aunts, grandmothers and working women. And when one of our own loses a loved one, our collective heart breaks. The women we serve want nothing more or less than we want. A healthy and nurturing environment where their kids can play outside, walk to a good school, and grow to full adulthood. They want streets that aren’t dangerous, services that aren’t faltering, and institutions that aren’t decaying. They want exciting opportunities for their kids and a decent chance to prove themselves. But mainly, they just want to be safe. So next time you hear a report of yet another tragic death on the streets of Baltimore, remember, our women want what you want. And though they are surrounded by the violence, though they live amongst it and in the middle of it…they are not of it.
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