BC Expert: Unrest in Baltimore
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Tiziana Dearing is an associate professor of the practice whose current teaching focuses on social innovation and leadership. Additional research and teaching interests include poverty and inequity, especially in urban environments, and social justice in public policy. Prior to joining the BC School of Social Work, Dearing led a number of anti-poverty organizations, including Boston Rising, a start-up anti-poverty fund, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston, where she was the first woman president. She also spent nearly a decade as a management consultant both to Fortune 500 companies and to mission-driven nonprofit organizations. In 2012, Dearing was appointed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve on Governor Patrick’s Commission on a Cashless EBT Payment System. She blogs regularly forThe Huffington Post and WBUR’s Cognoscenti and provides frequent media commentary to both local and national outlets on topics such as nonprofits, philanthropy, and social justice.
“Once again, leadership in a major city failed to learn the lessons of promoting calm, of using transparency as a device to disarm unrest, and of collaboration with local clergy and community leaders to promote peace. Once again, we see the legacy of profound mutual disrespect between an urban police force and an urban community of color. Once again, in a moment of crisis, a family's grief is overwhelmed by people of ill will taking advantage of large crowds and cracks in the rule of law to riot, to act in ways people usually refrain from acting.
What do we learn from this? Mostly, we learn that we still haven't learned. I think we also cannot deny that there is a pervasive unrest in our urban environments simmering just under the surface; it will erupt when the conditions are just so - including when there's a fissure in trust between institutions and their citizens. We have serious systemic problems around neighborhoods, job opportunities, quality education, strengthening families, access to assets, urban violence and quality, respectful rule of law. Until we get serious about addressing them, we're probably increasingly going to be watching the network news in dismay.
We must muster sustained, national dialog about opportunity right now. We need innovative people without bombast, black and white, in every major American city, supported by local philanthropy and national financial support, to identify, grow and add to the local innovations happening in our communities that build trust, improve local education, change the built environment and build alternatives to unemployment and permanent low-wage jobs. Baltimore is another example of why we need serious people, seriously supported in coalition across the country, with a laser focus on shared rising.”
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