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City of Baltimore - a panel discussion - Referat

There is a lot of violence, poverty and hopelessness in a city located in Ohio, United States of America, the city of Baltimore. After riots in the 1960s, the city with a majority of black habitants has never truly recovered. The murder rate is higher than Honduras, the most homicidal nation on earth, children live in areas where more than 30 percent of the neighbors are poor and more than 71 percent of the babies are born to single mothers.

During a recent panel discussion, representatives of four groups in the society that are affected by the situation there discussed potential solutions for the community and the future of their children. The represented parties were shopkeepers, social workers, single mothers, and police officers. Central points they want to achieve are to stop robbery and vandalism, offer cultural activities for teenagers, give their children a better (educated) future and bring safety back onto the streets.

The police officer stated that they want to start by establishing a protected area and then expand it until every part of the city is safe. The social workers want to create a youth house where children can go to play games and do their homework, to get them off the streets and positively influence them. This is also something that the single mothers wish for: they want their children to learn how to study correctly to get equal opportunities as children who have a father living at home. The improval of the children's education also leads to less crime which not only helps the police but also the shopkeepers because at the moment it is tough for them to keep their business alive because teenagers brake in their shops and steal goods from them.

All parties agreed that simply more police presence is not effective, because they regard the officers as their enemy, not as a role model or supporter. The policemen want to be present in schools to be a well-educated role model
but the social workers and also the single mothers believe that this would lead to nothing. On the other hand side, cooperation with social workers in a leisure center could contribute to the children valuing education more to build themselves a more suitable future.

Something that can lead to more equal opportunities for children with single parents is more government aids. Those can support families with a smaller amount of money to spend more time together and single mothers take in the part as a role model.

Change is a process and does not suddenly change the face of a whole generation and city. Nevertheless, the discussion showed that many parties are willing to change the opportunities and circumstances of the Baltimoreans. If all of them work together and start with the upcoming generation they can change everything persistently.

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