BALTIMORE (WJZ)– People are looking for ways to build a stronger Baltimore. Most of us know what the problems are, but few of us know the solutions.

Wednesday, WJZ, the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore Schaefer Center for Public Policy teamed up to hold a “Baltimore Standing Together” town hall meeting.

City leaders responded to your questions and concerns about Baltimore.

[WJZ’s Denise Koch: “We’re talking today about solutions and hope. Are you hopeful and if so, why?”]

“I’m extremely hopeful because I believe in Baltimore. I think it’s important that we change the narrative of who we are. We know who we are. We are very mis-characterized and misunderstood,” said Ceasefire organizer Erricka Bridgeford. “Baltimore is: ‘if you don’t give up on me, I will keep showing you who I am,’ and so as long as we have our hearts in it and our minds in it, we’re not competing with one another and we’re standing together, we can do anything. just watch us do it.”

“A lot of community meetings that we attend, a lot, over the course of 30 years, what I see– what we have seen in these meetings are always grandmothers. We see grandfathers there. We see the elderly there. We don’t see enough of Errickas there,” said Baltimore City Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa. “What’s certainly and clearly missing from those community meetings are the men. There are a lot of men who don’t know how to heal.”

“The community still has a distrust with the infrastructure and with the police department and things of that nature,” said Dr. Ted Sutton, who is an activist and gang expert. “I’m not anti-police, I’m anti-wrong. So it doesn’t matter what the situation is with that because officers don’t have a right to have a bad day. Because when a person at McDonald’s has a bad day, I don’t get my fries, but if a person at the police department has a bad day, my son doesn’t come home.”

After the town hall, WJZ spoke with Mayor Catherine Pugh and Commissioner De Sousa.

“We’ve got some great things happening in our city and I’m so proud of WJZfor taking this on, because I called folks together again early last year and said help me, help Baltimore and that’s what this is doing. Thank you so much,” Mayor Pugh said.

[WJZ’s Vic Carter: “How does this make you feel going into this job?]

“Two things: We have a community that’s hurting. You heard Erricka talk about it, you heard Safe Streets talk about it, we can’t do this by ourselves. Policing can’t do it by ourselves. We need everyone to stand together and we’ve gotta fight this thing in Baltimore,” De Sousa said.

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