Person of the Week- Duane “Shorty” Davis

Duane “Shorty” Davis is a Baltimore activist, cook, father, veteran, and a politicians’ worst nightmare. Originally from Zion, Illinois, Shorty moved to Baltimore in 1991 and began to help his community by feeding the homeless. Today, he continues to feed the homeless, speaks at public forums, participates in all forms of activism, and involves himself in the dealings of politicians all over the state. Throughout his time as an activist he has also created his own program; S.H.O.R.T.Y.S Self Help Organization for the Re-development and Re-education of the Young”, that focuses on the social and economic hardships faced by young people in the city. My favorite thing about Shorty, other than his sense of humor, is that he holds everyone accountable. If you show up late, unprepared, or (God forbid) don’t show up at all Shorty will notice and you will be hearing about it. Fondly referred to as “Shut ‘em down Shorty”, he loudly identifies and challenges racist and corrupt state officials, often times, in their faces. One way he does this is through the motif of toilets. He decorates toilets with political names, faces, and evidence of wrongdoing and places them in public places. Shorty’s toilets are intelligent, thought provoking, and funny just like the man who makes them.

He is currently running for Lieutenant Governor of Maryland in the 2014 elections. His platform includes politician transparency and accountability to the people, stopping the cradle to prison pipeline created by ‘The War on Drugs’, and giving power back to the people. Shorty can be found feeding the homeless and giving out free books on the third Sunday of every month. He is also active on Twitter – “Shortman_9” and Facebook- “Duane G. Davis” and welcomes anyone who wants to get involved in community activism to contact him.

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Baltimore confronts abusers at “town hall meeting”

Abdul-Salaam to Blake & Batts: You say you are trying to help the city, but you are hurting the very people we need in the community. You are terrorizing the children with a police force that can attack citizens with impunity.

Coverage of this event in The Sun is inadequate and misleading. Audience comments overwhelmingly criticized Mayor Blake & Police Chief Batts for enabling violence against ordinary people in Baltimore. Yet this article, by Colin Campbell, devotes only one paragraph — the tenth out of sixteen — to this type of criticism. Most of the article pays fawning tribute to the city’s untested new plan to curb violence, despite the bad record of the officials who are promoting it. (Mr. Campbell’s Twitter coverage was similar. Justin Fenton’s tweetstream was a little better. Remember, Tweets at the top are most recent.)

The article’s title, “Mayor, Batts attend west-side town hall meeting”, also distorts the reality of what happened. Ms. Blake and Mr. Batts did not “attend” a community meeting; they set up their own event, on their own terms, with their own overt & covert security forces. As the city is well aware, these meetings were scheduled for the same time as West Wednesday. Although the official purpose of the event was to reach out to the community, in practice the city officials were quite hostile to the people who came to see them. They also made it difficult for citizen journalists to record the event.

Nevertheless, Baltimore Bloc brings us several videos that show more of what really happened at this “town hall:”:

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New Baltimore City Police Program to Reduce Racial Profiling and Crime

According to Gigi Barnett at CBS Channel 13, the city police department is beginning a new effort to reduce racial profiling.  The program is initiative started by Police Commissioner Batts and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.  Read the short article on the CBS 13 website.

Essentially the article is a short political write up and a press release by mayor’s office and nothing else.  There is no investigative reporting nor any analysis.  However, what the article’s title raise one very important question.  Is the city admitting that there is a police driven crime problem in Baltimore?  Or is the title merely written to bait readers?