By Cori Lucas,
The most unfortunate facet of Baltimore’s reality is its reputation as one of America’s most dangerous cities due to its excessive murder rate. 2021 marks the seventh consecutive year in which Baltimore has experienced over 300 homicides—the grand majority of them a product of gun violence. “Baltimore Ceasefire 365 is a community-led anti-violence movement that calls people to honor life, to celebrate life, to be peaceful, and to have a different reaction to when people are murdered in our city; to make sure that murder does not have the last say in our neighborhoods but that we show up with love and light, reclaiming our neighborhoods when murder has taken place.” Their mission is very direct: no more killings in Baltimore. Determined to save hundreds of precious Black lives and cultivate a better future for all of Baltimore’s residents, Baltimore Ceasefire is calling for conversations centered around better ways to resolve disagreements, and healing the city by giving people a space to openly celebrate life and love.
Erricka Bridgeford lost her own older brother to gun violence in 2007. She co-founded Baltimore Ceasefire as a response to the bounding increase in deaths in Baltimore City. In May 2017 they started their first Ceasefire campaign, dubbing August 4th through August 6th of that year their first Ceasefire Weekend. They handed out flyers, promoted on social media, and put up signs declaring this three-day armistice in August where no murders would be committed. They also invited everyone to participate in the 50 life-affirming community events that they held over that weekend. At that time there was estimated to be a murder in Baltimore every nineteen hours; their Herculean efforts yielded 67 of the 72 Ceasefire hours without a murder. Even more inspiring, Baltimore Ceasefire saw the city unify in overflowing love and support in celebration of the two young men’s lives that were lost in Baltimore that first Ceasefire Weekend.
A fully-funded Baltimore Ceasefire would see everyone in Baltimore seeking meditation and developing their own conflict-management skills to dissolve issues instead of resulting in deadly violence. Mediation and communication would be the preferred way of handling disagreements and all people would have access to it. The four annual Ceasefire Weekends would be a citywide celebration of life that everyone would sacredly uphold and celebrate in the same way they would a holiday. Eventually, Ceasefire Weekends would evolve into extended periods of time without violence—then no violence, at all.
Baltimore Ceasefire invites every single resident of Baltimore to get involved in spreading the word about their upcoming Ceasefire Weekends which fall on the first weekend of February, August, and November, and on Mother’s Day weekend (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) of every year. They offer a space where individuals can come to peacefully and confidentially address problems. They also hold Sacred Space Rituals where they gather at the sights of murders and encourage everyone to “sing, dance, pray, play music, burn sage, speak loving words into the air” or do anything that fills the space with love and joy. To contribute to the end of murders in Baltimore and learn more about Baltimore Ceasefire’s valiant work, visit their page at cllctivly.org/listing/baltimore-ceasefire-365 or follow them @baltimoreceasefire. #DontBeNumb
All February, we’re honoring a few of the many Black leaders in our community making history every day with #28DaysofBlackFutures.
This is a crowdfunding and narrative power campaign that amplifies and mobilizes resources for Black-led organizations serving Greater Baltimore.
Throughout the month, we will highlight 28 dedicated Black leaders and organizations on the ground creating programs and initiatives that drive health, wealth, safety, and culture in #Baltimore.
Let’s CELEBRATE these changemakers and SUPPORT their work! Our goal is to raise $100,000 by the end of this campaign.
Head over to 28DaysofBlackfutures.org to donate today! ❤️🖤💚
Let’s show up BIG for our Black leaders and their organizations!