By Cori Lucas,
“We all we got, we all we need,”—a proud declaration from the members of We-Our-Us who describe their coordinated effort as a movement rather than an organization. We-Our-Us is an initiative led by and comprised of Baltimore’s Black men that shows that unity is much more powerful than aggression. Together, they serve as Baltimore’s connectors, protectors, mediators, and messengers. Members of We-Our-Us collaborate and execute initiatives to contribute to the advancement of Black men and reduce crime. This includes supplying them resources vital to their survival, dispatching members of their organization to be present in communities that lack positive role models, providing conflict mediation, and recruiting others to participate in their enriching work. Ever-present in and around the community, the foundation of their work is collective action, or initiatives carried out as a group, to maximize their impact. We-Our-Us finds fulfillment in being a source of positive change and a beacon of hope in neighborhoods through Baltimore City.
Pastor Corey Barnes and members of We-Our-Us began as an initiative to relieve the drastic levels of crime in Baltimore. They sought to be a trusted presence and source of safety in neighborhoods where violence and murder are common. To further counteract the need for residents of impoverished communities, mainly Black men, to resort to criminal means (e.g. selling drugs or theft) to provide for themselves and their families, We-Our-Us began to frequent these communities with job opportunities, food, and much-needed resources, which they’ve continued to do consistently since circa 2020.
If We-Our-Us had all the resources and funding they needed, their diligent, attentive men would be dispatched all over Baltimore, on every block, serving the needs of the community
If We-Our-Us had all the resources and funding they needed, their diligent, attentive men would be dispatched all over Baltimore, on every block, serving the needs of the community, “meeting the needs of poverty, meeting the needs of those who are addicted, meeting the needs of those who are engaged in violence”. These men would be sanctuaries and assistants to every child in Baltimore, complete with a phone number to call that’ll send We-Our-Us members speeding to their immediate aid—independent of meddling from law enforcement. Every young person in Baltimore would have a guiding hand with access to resources and supplies that they need to thrive. Their abundant and strong presence would make it so no youth in the city would have to go anywhere without support and without feeling safe.
We-Our-Us has guided approximately 2,000 people to job security, dispensed 1,000 tons of food to residents of Baltimore City, and helped 500 people into drug treatment programs since its creation! Their Stop The Beef hotline (443-431-3705) is open for anyone to call in and receive mediation for any conflicts they’re having on the spot, right over the phone and without the need for police involvement. They also host regular Community Engagement Walks to promote peace and encourage others to contribute positively to their community. They offer Life Coaching sessions and hold several Food Distribution Days a month in different communities across Baltimore. To join them in making Baltimore’s Black neighborhoods safer, view their upcoming events, or donate to their mission, follow them @weourusbmore or visit their website at https://cllctivly.org/listing/we-our-us/.