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The Avenue

Life in Baltimore, from the people who call it home: A video


“Within my community, everything is divided.” This quote from an African American teenager in Baltimore encapsulates the main theme of “Baltimore and Beyond,” a video that gives voice to several young men and women growing up in some of the city’s distressed neighborhoods. Their comments reflect a recognition of the segregation and deprivation that characterizes their communities—issues certainly not unique to Baltimore—and yet also a deep appreciation, as one woman noted, of the city and the people who live there. These young people express hope that their neighborhoods will get better, and a conviction that they can be part of the change.

In the wake of Freddie Gray’s death and the unrest that followed, Baltimore—like many cities—continues to grapple with how to ensure that more of its residents have a chance to participate in the growth and revitalization taking place in the city and region. The current racial divide in Baltimore is striking:


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Economic and community development leaders across the country have learned a great deal, over many decades, of what has worked and what hasn’t—and those lessons need to be understood and integrated into both new and existing efforts to grow more inclusive communities. But poverty and economic isolation, and the racial dynamic that underpins them in many urban areas, are extraordinarily complex challenges that require deep and varied solutions working at multiple levels of intervention. In our collective efforts, we’d all be wise to listen closely to the concerns and ideas of youth like those here, because they are the ones who will be most impacted tomorrow by the choices we make and actions we take today.

Click here for all of Brookings content on Baltimore. And stay tuned for more from Brookings on the issues of race and opportunity in the months to come.

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