Wendy Stewart is a native of Baltimore and an adult convert to the Catholic Church. As a life coach and personal trainer, she works with families, children, and singles to bring together all aspects of their lives to be happy and healthy in body, mind and spirit. You can contact her for individual or group coaching at nutritioncoachwendy@yahoo.com.

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That's a weak argument. If anyone want to limit access to his private life, then make a limited use of internet resources for personal issues. I'd like to point out that the IPhone is made in China and it is unlikely that the Chinese government has access to this, and any other, communication device manufactured in China. By making the IPhone in factories under the Chinese regime and denying the FBI access to the device, Apple empowers a government that endangers our future and hampers a government, with elected officials, willing to protect us.

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Wendy, I am also of the Roman Catholic religion, all 67 years of my life. I cry for my neighbors also. I do not live in the city, but after all, we are all neighbors. I truly cry for those living in the neighborhoods like yours who live and work and abide by the law, who, as reported many times are afraid in their neighborhoods because of the drug dealers and gangs that rule those neighborhood streets making all around them afraid and unsafe in their own neighborhoods. I remember the Baltimore family that reported what was happening in their neighborhood and in the act of trying to protect their family and others, their house was set on fire and all members of their family perished. I believe in helping those who are truly needy, but I also believe there are the same opportunites for all in those areas of the city as all citizens of the city. There are those who choose to take advantage of those opportunities e.g. attending school and getting an education or finding an honest way to support themselves. I see many help wanted signs, so there are jobs available. I blame the city leadership from the top down for city schools' downfall. There are those e.g. previous mayor Sheila Dixon who choose to spend taxpayer money on what is good for them and their political agenda. Yes, I cry along with you. You make me proud for what I have just read about you and your service to our country. Why is your example not followed? I think that you have a family who teach their values and respect for all to their children. That is what I feel is necessary to help neighborhoods to rise above what we are experiencing now. My prayers go out to everyone affected and I pray that God has a plan for His good to come from this. Thank you for allowing me to air my feelings. Praying for you and the good work you do.

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Thoughts on the Goodson verdict




A small group of demonstrators stands outside the Clarence M. Mitchell Courthouse June 23 as the Goodson verdict is announced. (Wendy Stewart)


I almost forgot about the important verdict that was expected today from Circuit Judge Barry Williams in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson, the police officer prosecutors said gave Freddie Gray Jr.  a "rough ride" in a police van that resulted in fatal injuries.

I had no plans to be at the courthouse. I planned to catch up with the verdict via local news and online media just like everyone else.

But that’s not what happened.

Instead, while dropping my sister and her new baby off at the doctor’s office, I found my way back to the Clarence M. Mitchell Courthouse. I already knew there were a few protestors there and tons of media. Because I study mass communication and want to be a photojournalist, I almost felt a duty to cover the verdict – at least for the sake of my own professional career.

There will be plenty of opinions on the judge’s decision to find Goodson not guilty on all charges. There will also be plenty of discussion about what might happen with the remaining officers who have yet to stand trial.

This post is not about any of those things.

I was taken aback by the small group of protestors. Though small in number (there were more members of the media than protestors), they were united in voice and purpose. This group already formed the opinion of corrupt officers whom they believe to be killer cops and belong in jail. Protestor Julie McGregor told me of how she witnessed bullying and harassment by police officers and wanted to see change. I want to see change as well, but we cannot hang our hopes on evidence which does not exist.

For real change to begin, we must start with our own communities and foster positive relations with law enforcement. When we stop viewing them as the enemy, we can move forward toward a positive, working relationship.

Some of you may remember my posts from last year’s riots (“I cried for my neighbors”  and “What do we do now?”)  where I described the unrest and helplessness I felt at the time. I also explored five ways in which things could get better. I wish I could say for sure they have.

The bar on the corner in Baltimore where I live was bought by new owners and they are working on reopening, while most businesses from Penn-North down to Smallwood Street appear to have gone back to normal.

We know nothing can go back to the way it was.

Mondawmin Mall has better security measures, shop owners have adjusted their hours, and criminals are still being criminals. What I don’t want to see is a repeat of last year. I don’t want to see people homeless and out on the streets because a few people took the opportunity to create violence and mayhem. I don’t want my week-old nephew to be disturbed by misplaced anger and frustration turned into violence.

I want to believe, for today, I am safe – safe from riots, disturbances and mischief.

 

 

6/23/2016 3:07:57 PM
By Wendy Stewart