DISCLAIMER: The following opinion editorial was written by Mr. Ted Smith, a dedicated community activist and public servant who recently joined mayoral candidate, Delegate Jill Carter on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Lauren, an active drug corner. In her bid for mayor, Jill has been spending the night on some of Baltimore’s most dangerous corners in an effort to connect with community members who are most often overlooked and marginalized. I asked Ted to write about his experience. Enjoy!
Jill P. Carter: Harriet Tubman of our Times
I just left the mayoral forum at Empowerment Temple on Thursday 8/16. Jill Carter said that she campaigned on some of the worst corners of Baltimore City from 10PM – 6AM. That was the topic of discussion in my car on the way home. Jill Carter became a newfound hero/role model for my eleven-year-old daughter. I called Jill Carter’s campaign and I was informed that Friday’s all night campaign site was
I could think of nothing else all day. As I headed to this location, my heart was beating loud enough for me to hear. I was scared to death. The others that were with me were afraid as well my mentee, Cedric and my son. Prayer gave us the courage to continue on.
Finally, we reached the site. Our eyes were wide open. This is the liveliest campaign ever! There were campaign signs out, music blasting, a grill burning, and food and drinks were being served. This group had transformed Pennsylvania and Laurens from a death-like atmosphere to a lively one. The campaign workers had fire! They believed in Jill Carter down to the core. Even though the campaign workers had fire, Jill Carter had the most fire.
Jill Carter is truly the most down to earth pulicly elected official ever created. I saw her ennoble folks that even most churchgoers would look down upon. She talked to both people that were sober and those that were clearly substance abused. She listened to them tell their stories, share their hopes of the next mayor, or merely vent about what public officials were not doing.
She LISTENED to the people and transformed their language. Voters that came to her talking about raising the minimum wage left her talking about deserving a living wage. Voters that came to her complaining about what politicians do not do, left her with the guts to remove them from office. People that were not registered to vote left her as registered voters. To be quite honest, there were some young guys that said they were going to vote for her simply because she is gorgeous. After all, she is more beautiful, more intelligent, and more ethical than Sheila Dixon. (Is there even a comparison?)
Jill Carter has THE FIRE! Even when her campaign workers wanted to leave around 4AM, she demanded that we stay till 6AM. Her word is her bond! She stayed for the remaining two hours despite the fact that she was visibly tired. However, she continued to speak to people. She was ever patient, listening, and feeling the pulse of the people. Her words revived the pulse of a seemingly dead area.
This area has the appearance of life. After all, Pennsylvania Avenue never sleeps. The Legends Carryout stayed open until 5AM and maintained a steady throng of customers. Young people (middle school aged) were out till at least 2AM. There were groups of high school females on
This area reminded me of the valley of dry bones described in the Book of Ezekiel in the Bible. The people are physically alive, but are described in the scriptures as basically being the walking dead. The people are the “Black Zombies” described by Nas. What has the church, the supposed repository of the Holy Spirit, done to revive the mentally and spiritually dead? What have the political leaders done to resurrect the mentally and spiritually dead – give contracts to their sister?
My daughter must have realized that I was in such an environment because she could not sleep. She called me three times that night (early in the morning as well). Not to worry! I am in the midst of revolutionary spirits. The revolutionary spirit of the Baltimore civil rights leader, Walter P. Carter, was in the midst. The revolutionary spirit of Robert Clay was in the midst. Jill Carter taught me that a revolutionary does not have to have an Angela Davis bush. She might actually speak the King’s English. As far as I’m concerned, Jill Carter may be the biggest revolutionary in Baltimore.