From #FergusonToBaltimore, Messages of Unity

by Melanie Schmitz

After a weekend of active demonstrations and an evening of aggressive riots on Monday, Baltimore residents received messages of encouragement from Ferguson activists eager to support them in the fight for justice. The overall climate in Baltimore on Tuesday had shifted into recovery mode as residents began their cleanup efforts from the theft and looting the night before, but after the debris was swept aside, the damaged city warily looked for its next move — and residents of the embattled Ferguson, Missouri were more than happy to lend a guiding hand. Tweeting positive messages of change and unification under the hashtag #FergusonToBaltimore, Midwestern neighbors instructed their East Coast counterparts on how to make the best of the tense atmosphere.

"Stay safe tonight," tweeted one user, adding the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. "The more people wake up, the more fear the system has," tweeted another. "We shall fight this together!"

Baltimore residents alleged that they felt the same sort of police brutality that many in Ferguson had lamented, including one man who claimed police had stepped on the back of his head as he lay on his stomach inside his music studio, breaking his nose. "This is every day for us," said Charles Eubanks in a comment to Mashable on Sunday. "You know if you run from the police what the consequences are." Bustle has reached out to the Baltimore Police Department for comment.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Reports in Baltimore also indicated that police had arrested two photojournalists reporting on the protests, detaining and then releasing them without explanation just as police in Ferguson had done months earlier.

"We take seriously the right of the press to fairly and accurately cover events such as the protests that occurred yesterday in Baltimore," Baltimore Sun Media Group spokeswoman Renee Mutchnik wrote in a statement Sunday about the company's reporters. "We are looking into the incident and are reaching out to the Baltimore Police Department to begin a constructive dialogue to express our concerns about what happened to our photographer."

Ferguson resident Jody Squires told CNN that watching the drama unfold on television screens over the weekend was like "having a scab ripped off":

When I saw the images from Baltimore, it made me sad to think that there’s another situation involving the loss of life and destruction of a community. No matter what you do, where you are, or how strong your community is, in this country, you are one situation away from another Baltimore or Ferguson. You can’t control it, and you can’t prevent it, and it’s devastating.

Both series of protests, over the weekend in Baltimore and last year in Ferguson, have ignited talks of possible widespread demonstrations nationwide, and residents of the latter city aren't waiting around to lend experienced tips and encouraging messages of hope to those who might soon find themselves in the way of elevated police interaction:

Images: Getty Images (1)