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Quick and Dirty

Deadly Issues

By Anna Ditkoff | Posted 8/18/2004

On Saturday, Aug. 14, at 12:53 a.m., 24-year-old Andre Adams became the 180th person murdered this year in Baltimore City. He was shot to death outside Q’s Bar in the 2500 block of East Monument Street. It was the fifth murder on East Monument Street this year and one of more than 50 murders on the east side between North and Eastern avenues.

Adams’ murder occurred one block from the Rose Street Community Center, a nonprofit organization that works with ex-felons and offers programs to keep kids out of jail. The people at Rose Street have had enough.

“East Baltimore has an alarming homicide rate,” says Walker Gladden II, a youth counselor at the center. “I’m seeing and hearing and reading deaths on a daily basis.”

In an attempt to address the violence, the center is holding a press conference on Thursday, Aug. 19, asking the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to designate homicides in Baltimore City an epidemic.

“Right now no one is really moving toward these issues,” Gladden says. “Our children are dying at a rapid rate, and the federal government is not moving, the city is not moving, the state is not moving. The only ones who are moving is we who love our children and want to see our children live.”

Gladden hopes that getting the CDC to declare the city’s homicide problem an epidemic will bring more resources to the city to help decrease the violence. CDC spokesman Von Roebuck says that the agency has designated violence in certain communities to be an epidemic before, but only on a case-by-case basis. “Sometimes it’s a serious problem but it’s not an epidemic,” he says.

This is just one of the center’s efforts to address the city’s homicide rate. Last year, Gladden filed suit against Mayor Martin O’Malley in small claims court charging that O’Malley failed to deliver on his 1999 campaign promise to dramatically reduce the number of murders in Baltimore (“Worth a Shot,” The Nose, Nov. 19, 2003). Gladden says that regardless of what the city’s politicians do, Rose Street will keep fighting the problem.

“We’re not going to give up,” he says. “It’s until death do us part.”

The press conference takes place at the Rose Street Community Center, 821 N. Rose St., on Thursday, Aug. 19, at noon.

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