BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The grassroots Baltimore Ceasefire movement is trying to stop the violence in Baltimore, one weekend at a time.
The first ceasefire weekend was held in August 2017. The group asked for an end to the city’s bloodshed for 72 hours.
“You don’t have enough politicians, police, Guardian Angels or Baltimore Ceasefire activists is going to stop the violence, ” said Marcus “Strider” Dent of the Baltimore Guardian Angels group. “The citizens of Baltimore have to say ‘We’ve had enough.'”
It ended with disappointment. Two men were murdered on the second day.
“We knew that murder could happen because it’s not just a problem that we can fix by ourselves,” said Erricka Bridgeford, a community activist.
In November, as the city neared 300 homicides on the year, organizers attend to end the violence once again, engaging the community with demonstrations and marches, going directly into neighborhoods uniting Baltimore with peaceful events.
“I don’t want anybody to think, you know, they can just scare us away, you know,” said Ceasefire supporter Marcus Dagold. “I mean, a movement is a movement.”
A citywide called to honor life ended with a murder on day two.
“Nobody wants to face it,” said Theresa Reuter, another supporter. “And it’s growing like a cancer.”
“I find that it’s wrong that there’s people dying for nothing,” said D’Monico Marshall.
Baltimore ended 2017 with 343 homicides, a per capita record, and 2018 started off going in a similar, violent direction.
Without losing sight of their mission, the group planned a third ceasefire in February.
It was successful. Finally, a murder free weekend.
“The community has to go out in the community, we can’t rely only on the police and departmental agencies,” said Michael Haynie, another organizer.
The feeling of hope lasted well beyond the weekend — there were no murders for more than a week-and-a-half.
But someone was shot to death on day 12.
“I don’t know it’s just a sad situation,” one woman told WJZ. “Eleven days and now… I was praying and hoping that nothing happened.”
But as the body count continues to rise, organizers show no signs of stopping their ceasefire movement until their mission of putting an end to murder in Baltimore is achieved.