I had a dream about you. It began in a massive room. There were lots of people packed wall to wall buzzing about in conversations. Their attire was quite formal but only some wore suits or gowns. Many others were garbed with impressive clothing of kinds I had never seen.
Altogether, those in the room were a marvel to watch. These people of every complexion were in perfect peace with one another. Not like at a cocktail party or an awards show but the type of peace you see in close families. The collective chatter of their several thousand voices echoed across high arched ceilings in a way that created this wonderful flutter of sound: Everyone was talking about you Baltimore.
Some people spoke of the city's high school graduation rate going from less than 60% to over 98%. Others discussed Baltimore health dynamics including how the African American infant mortality rate in 2015 was nine times that of European Americans. They say it was you who made the figures become equal. A group of young law students discussed how you Baltimore, argued the way Thurgood Marshall argued in Brown v. Board of Education and enshrined in our nation's Supreme Court that systematic institutionalized economic segregation is not equality. One girl mentioned a key argument for this precedent being: "The life expectancy for citizens in West Baltimore was 20 years less than in North Baltimore due to poor nutrition and no access to certain medical treatment as a result of historic and present economic disenfranchisement."
In this dream, there were so many stories of how you have overcome since the Freddie Gray riots in 2015. Even then, people knew this was about far more than police violence. Baltimore, it was you that took responsibility for the complexity of your own circumstances moving forward. You were the one who turned your anger and frustration into the discipline necessary to pursue and achieve happiness. You took accountability for what you could control, and measured your actions with pragmatism and grace in the areas where you needed help. Moreover, you sustained the fortitude to press on at times when the help never came.
You Baltimore, helped usher in a New Deal designed for all citizens. It was your leadership that helped draft and pass the All American Life Act. Now, every American life has economic force. It was you that foresaw life insurance could save life by creating a financial deterrent for those who wrongfully take it. You were instrumental in establishing a reimbursement program for insurance carriers who make premature payouts to families like Freddie Gray's, Walter Scott's, Michael Brown's, and Trayvon Martin's. You knew the next generation of otherwise poverty stricken citizens in West Baltimore would not need nor qualify for govt. assistance because you were building a legacy by passing on an inheritance made possible by affordable life insurance. It was you that enlightened America into truly believing we are one people: United as a nation that measures itself by the opportunity available to its citizenry. These ideals were the foundation for a new generation of well educated and financially stable citizens whom are now effective in further strengthening our economy.
Your plight became the catalyst for leading America. You were being awarded for turning your tragedy into our nationwide triumph. We all showed up to salute you. I had a dream Baltimore. Reality is up to you.
Jordan Thomas Taylor Powell