Gersham Cupid, Richard Black, Mack Clifton, Sheila Dixon, Elizabeth Embry, Mike Maraziti, Connor Meek, Nick J. Mosby, Collins Ottona, Catherine E. Pugh, Carl Stokes, David Warnock, Calvin Allen Young, and Brian Charles D. Vader.

These are the declared mayoral candidates for the Baltimore 2016 elections. All of the candidates are Democrat except for Brian Charles D. Vader who is a Republican. This morning I woke up and drove to one of the candidate’s base of operations near Charles Street in Mt. Vernon neighborhood. I had agreed to accompany one of my old high school friend’s mother to come as a “volunteer buddy” to learn more information about this Baltimore mayoral candidate.

In the office, I was told by the volunteer coordinator that his platform revolved around improving the education system as well as economic development. One of his projects would involve connecting East and West Baltimore neighborhoods with an improved public transportation system. I questioned her how the candidate would assuage the fears of those who don’t want an extensive public transit system for fear of dangerous city-dwellers to infiltrate the neighboring suburbs. She told me that she didn’t know the answer, but that I should ask the candidate himself during his meet-and-greets later this week in Fells Point and Federal Hill.

I don’t know if I was particularly sold with the information that I heard. I would assume that most candidates are running on some sort of economic development platform and restructuring of the infrastructure. I think the hardest thing is the staying power and understanding the solutions to endemic problems such as poverty, racism, drug-abuse, and violence come from misunderstandings. It’s the misunderstanding among people from different backgrounds, families, socio-economic brackets, and beliefs. 

"You're the nicest person I've met today; isn't that sad?", Cashier at  Milk and Honey Market

"You're the nicest person I've met today; isn't that sad?", Cashier at Milk and Honey Market

The sweeping reforms aren’t going to help turn Baltimore around within the lifetime of an administration. The biggest changes occur when we let ourselves go into the unknown, willing to learn about a new neighborhood, new face, and new story that lessens the gap of our ignorance.