The NAACP is set to release their Baltimore Economic Inclusion Plan, a 35-page document detailing economic inequality in Baltimore that they have been working on for months.
The organization plans to release its report at their national headquarters in Baltimore today, along with reports about St. Louis and Charlotte, N.C.
The civil rights organization decided to look into these three cities in particular because of the unrest that has taken place in recent years resulting in episodes of police brutality, predatory lending and other discriminatory practices, according to the Baltimore Sun,
NAACP President Derrick Johnson points out that at the root of these issues are more significant underlying problems like inequality.
“The NAACP understands that economic disparity is a contributing factor to social and political turmoil and, as a result, renews its commitment to support economic inclusion in the communities we serve through advocacy and direct service,” said Marvin Owens, Jr., the organization’s director of economic programs.
A history of discrimination leads to unrest
The report examines Baltimore’s history going as far back as slavery when the city had one of the biggest free Black communities in the country. Baltimore also remained segregated with the report noting that “eventually the city passed the nation’s first law that ordered residential segregation,” known as Ordinance 610.
“Since that time, the Black population in Baltimore has been the target of egregious policies and discriminatory practices,” the report states.
“Redlining, predatory lending, and divestment of public schools have perpetuated poverty and frustrated economic growth for African Americans,” the NAACP argues, “grew to include mass incarceration and abusive policing.”
“Current realities in the Baltimore metropolitan area suggest the harms of the early 20th century are still felt today,” the report says indicating that in this case, the past defines the present.
Now, the NAACP is calling on Baltimore to do better. With proposals ranging from investing more in schools to taking a closer look at reparations, the report makes one thing clear: the status quo has got to change.