Lexington Market Opens
Local leaders like Governor Wes Moore, Mayor Brandon Scott, and more were on hand in late January to cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Lexington Market. The project to renew the over 200-year-old market began several years ago. The $40 million needed to finance the project was secured in January 2020.
Many in Baltimore have eyed the renovation project with wariness – wondering if this meant that much of what made the space so essentially Baltimore — fresh fruits for sale next to older Black folks gathering to dance to Baltimore Club next to unhoused residents who used the space to hang out — would be swept away to create something more tourist-friendly.
“While many of us will miss the old building and the memories we made there, Lexington Market 2.0 will build upon what made the old market so special and an unparalleled sense of Baltimore community,” said Scott.
Half of the businesses currently inhabiting the market are Black-owned, and half of them are women-owned, Baltimore Fishbowl reported.
There are a number of events scheduled at Lexington Market to celebrate Black History Month this February, including a health and wellness fair and art on display. Go to lexingtonmarket.com/events for more information.
Baltimore Reacts to the Death of Tyre Nichols
Several Baltimore groups, many already familiar faces due to their persistent efforts to organize around the issue of police brutality, took to the streets in late January. They were motivated by the release of a graphic video that showed Memphis police officers brutally beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols. Officers initially claimed to have pulled Nichols over for a traffic stop. They beat him so badly that he died at a hospital three days later. At the time of this issue’s printing, seven of the officers who were involved in the incident were relieved of duty, five of them charged with murder. Three members of the Memphis Fire Department have been fired.
The Baltimore Sun reported that about 80 people gathered the day after the video’s January 27 release. Among them was Tawanda Jones, who has been protesting for years, searching for justice after the death of her brother, Tyrone West. West died after he was apprehended by Baltimore City police in July 2013.
“I miss everything about him,” Jones said.
Danielle Brown, the mother of Donnell Rochester, an 18-year-old shot and killed by police last year, asked people to remember the fight over police brutality right here in Baltimore.
“We need to focus on the police brutality that’s happening here, with Donnell and a lot of others, in Baltimore City,” The Baltimore Banner reported that she said.
Baltimore’s mayor, state’s attorney, and police chief released a joint statement regarding the Nichols video that didn’t address anything that protestors here in Baltimore have been asking for in order to stop the killing of Black people by Baltimore police — but they did ask that people not riot.
The video of Nichols’ beating was released just one day before a quarterly hearing about the Baltimore Consent Decree. The city entered into the decree with the federal government in 2017, after officials uncovered that Baltimore City Police engaged in a pattern of discriminatory practices under the guise of stopping crime. At the hearing, Judge James K. Bredar asked if there were incidents where police should have actually used more force, the Baltimore Banner reported.
Rent Assistance to End
Access to millions of dollars in federal pandemic rental aid is about to end, and there’s currently no money in Governor Wes Moore’s proposed 2024 budget for rental assistance, according to the Baltimore Banner.
The news outlet reported that Moore did not answer questions about why rent assistance wasn’t included. Although he didn’t answer their questions, a representative for the new governor said that he hopes efforts to increase the state’s minimum wage, as well as budgeted funds for renters seeking legal assistance, will help solve the problem. The news outlet also reported that 2022 saw a sharp increase in evictions.
In our last issue, Baltimore Beat talked to Kevin Lindamood, president and CEO of Healthcare for the Homeless.
“We’re poised to see, I fear, growing homelessness among entire intact families that can’t make ends meet. And we know that homelessness rips people, rips families, apart, and that so often results in premature mortality,” he said.
Baltimore Councilwoman Odette Ramos has submitted an inclusionary housing bill, aimed at making it easier for people in need to access a place to live. It’s intended to replace legislation that expired in June of 2022.
At the beginning of the month, advocacy group Citizens Planning & Housing Association tweeted out an image that read: “Reminder Baltimore City Council, it’s been 215 days without an Inclusionary Housing Law. #stopthestall #BmoreEquitable”