We Must Oppose the Policies of Mayor Catherine Pugh Until We Get Racial Justice

Mayor Catherine Pugh has been in office just over 100 days but she has made key policy decisions that reveal who she is as a mayor.

1) She approved the Legg Mason PILOT profit sharing giveaway. She signed a deal to GIVE AWAY approximately $5.2 million a year starting in 2019. A pure gift for the Paterakis clan and terrible deal for Baltimore.

2) She vetoed the $15/hour minimum wage bill after declaring as a candidate that she would sign it.

3) She is pushing for increasing mandatory minimums for gun possession. This policy will increase Stop-and-Frisk in Black neighborhoods and lead to more mass incarceration of Black people. Also, we have a police force that should not be given the responsibility of enforcing such a law given their own systemic misconduct. [Edit: #3 was added July 23]

4) The mayor is not addressing the fundamental issue in Baltimore: our racial hypersegregation. Her transition report contains no mention of racial segregation and no mention of it was made in her State of the City address. Racial desegregation and making Black neighborhoods matter are simply not policy priorities.

We deserve better from Baltimore’s 50th mayor. Yes, she is more personable than our previous mayor and I’m sure she is a nice person to know. But Mayor Pugh is simply NOT the mayor we need. She is the Mayor for corporate developers and big businesses. We cannot pretend this is not true until she proves otherwise. Until then, we must begin to organize to oppose her policy initiatives as much too business friendly and too weak for the radical changes we need.

The Baltimore Uprising of April 27, 2015 — the day Freddie Gray was buried — gave rise to a new political order. The Uprising punctuated months of protests to protect Black lives and those protests continued well afterwards. The Baltimore Movement for Black Lives carries on! It is in the name of Freddie Gray and Korryn Gaines and thousands of other Black Baltimore youths that we must begin to challenge Mayor Pugh’s policies of support for big business and corporate developers while denying a living wage for Baltimore’s Black workers.

To ignore the existence of the Black Butterfly and the White L is not acceptable. We are not “one Baltimore.” We are a city deeply divided by over 100 years worth of segregationist policies. The Legg Mason PILOT giveaway privileges a major White L developer at the expense of critical money needed for the Black Butterfly, for our public schools, and for recreation centers for our children.

These policies make all of this critically clear and we cannot wait another 100 days for justice. In this emergency age of Trump, we cannot afford injustice in our communities. We need justice now. Justice delayed is justice denied. We must agitate. We must speak truth to power until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness flows like an ever-flowing stream.

Fight for the future!

Photo by Devin Allen