Op/Ed: The Dixon Report by Baltimore City Mayor Sheila Dixon
(BALTIMORE - September 27, 2008) - A week ago, our city lost a powerful advocate and many of us lost a great friend when former Councilman Ken Harris was killed in a robbery. It has been a difficult week for us all, especially his family - including his wife, Annette, as well as their children - Nicole and Kenneth. Jr. They continue to be in my prayers, and I hope they are in yours as well.
Many skilled detectives from the Baltimore Police Department are working day and night to find those responsible for Ken’s murder, just as thousands of officers are on the street day and night trying to prevent these senseless acts of violence. They are doing their jobs, but each of us has a role to play as well.
One of the most profound and influential champions of nonviolence and social responsibility is the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Among his many wise public statements and calls to action is this: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
Dr. King’s words ring true here in Baltimore. One murder affects us all. One child who quits school for a life in the streets affects us all. And each person who comes forward to help the police keep us safe or steps into the life a child to provide mentorship can affect us all as well.
As mayor, I have stood on three strong tenets for making Baltimore a safer place: targeted enforcement, strong partnerships and community engagement.
Have we made some progress? Absolutely; but we have much work to do. The work ahead will take more than government programs and strategies. It requires everyone to exercise their duty and be a champion for our city.
Homicides are down by percentages we have not seen in decades. Nevertheless, one homicide is one too many. Life is a precious commodity. The next Ben Carson, Benjamin Carter, Oprah Winfrey or Barack Obama may be in our elementary, middle or high school classroom today. Yet, if we do not secure their success today, they may never fulfill their potential tomorrow.
Next month I will be joined by Susan Taylor, former Editor-in-Chief for Essence Magazine, to kick-off Baltimore CARES--an official partnership with the National CARES Movement. Members of Sororities, Fraternities and other civic, social and faith-based organizations will also be in attendance to commit to influence a young person‘s life one promise at a time.
Baltimore CARES is one example of how you can be proactive in “connecting the dots” and making a positive impact in our city. As Dr. King so eloquently stated, “what affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Individually, we cannot do it all, but together we ALL can do it!