BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Ceasefire organizers are calling for another violence-free weekend, hoping there won’t be any shootings or homicides in the city.
Dozens of family-friendly events will be held throughout the city this weekend. Peace walks, movie screenings, and the third annual Black History Month Festival.
“It’s about getting out there getting the message out. Even if there are murders over the weekend, we have to start somewhere, and we are going to get there,” says Michelle Duberry of west Baltimore.
On Friday, Mayor Catherine Pugh — who admitted she fired former city police commissioner Kevin Davis because she was impatient with the slow progress — sat next to Davis’ replacement, acting commissioner Darryl De Sousa.
He laid out a crime-reduction plan to state lawmakers, which includes more officers on the streets, eliminating guns and targeting criminals.
“Our goal is really to zero in on those specific folks, and we don’t want to zone in on a community, we want to zone in on a person,” De Sousa said.
In west Baltimore at the corner of Edmonson and Wildwood, some hoped that many would see and heed the message of a ceasefire, possibly ushering in a new day for the city.
“I’ve actually helped hand out flyers for the last one and in talking to guys, they were like, ‘You really think we can do this?’ And I’m like, ‘I believe it,'” Councilman Kristefer Burnett said.
The first ceasefire weekend was in August 2017 when the city reached 188 killings for 2017. Many of the same events were held, but two homicides still occurred. The second ceasefire weekend in November saw one homicide.
“We’re doing ceasefires quarterly because we saw what the first one did, how much hope it gave the city,” Erricka Bridgeford, one of the event’s founders, told our media partners at The Baltimore Sun before the November Ceasefire weekend.
Baltimore City saw 343 homicides in 2017, the highest per-capita rate on record. However, there was a stretch between Nov. 6-12 when there were none. So far this year, there were no homicides between Jan. 12-19.
Bridgeford wants people to remember those periods and know that violence-free weekends are possible.
“I know a lot of you all think that Baltimore can’t go three whole days without nobody getting killed… but you don’t know what you are talking about if that’s what you think,” Bridgeford said in a video posted to Instagram.
There were 26 homicides in January 2018, down from 32 in January 2017.
Bridgeford told The Baltimore Sun the violence-free campaign has been successful in mobilizing the community and offering hope to residents who are beginning to recognize that there are solutions to many of the city’s problems.
For a list of ceasefire events this weekend, visit baltimoreceasefire.com/calendar