Redlining Baltimore: Exploring Systemic Discrimination Through Art & Discussion
by Kelly Louise Barton
Originally published by What Weekly
IF YOU’RE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE TERM “REDLINING”, the easiest way to explain it—specifically to Baltimore—is by looking at a map of the city. Notice how our city’s major highways divide neighborhoods—from 95 to 83—these cement barriers separate what are recognizably contrasting neighborhoods, both visually and economically; and that was precisely by design.
As the anniversary of last year’s Uprising is upon us, we look back at a year of introspection, analysis, and dialogue. The Uprising was the result of compounded years of systematic oppression and institutionalized racism—government sanctioned policies that have crippled opportunity and inclusion in this city for the majority of its population. Of these systems, perhaps the most obvious and present is redlining.
In lieu of the Uprising’s anniversary, Johns Hopkins University has launched Redlining Baltimore, a speaker series dedicated to conversation through art to reflect upon our city’s history and continue working towards solutions to our ever-present inequality.
Sponsored by Hopkins’ 21st Century Cities Initiative, the series consists of four events that will bring together academics, activists, civic leaders, residents, local artists, and musicians hosted by actress and activist Sonja Sohn. Each event will discuss our city’s intimate history with discrimination, and more importantly, what the community can do to change the course of our city’s future. The series consists of four events: Legacy: Living and Coming of Age Inside the Redline, Opportunity: Inclusive Development and Wealth Creation Inside the Redline, Transform: The Future of Justice and Knowledge of the Redline, and Experience: Public Health and the Redline.
While the roster of organizations, artists, and academics involved in Redlining Baltimore is extensive, one of the most captivating aspects of the series is the art being designed to help convey what all the talks will focus on.