Months after a mass shooting, federal leaders saw firsthand how Baltimore’s Brooklyn community needs programs that can lift people out of trauma.
State and local leaders have focused on helping residents recover in wake of the Brooklyn Homes mass shooting on July 2 that killed two people and injured 28 others.
On Wednesday, U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, alongside Baltimore City Councilwoman Phylicia Porter, D-District 10, toured two nonprofits in south Baltimore that serve Brooklyn and Curtis Bay. At The Well, they saw how a business called Hon’s Honey is employing women. The facility also serves as a refuge for women, a place where they can rest, take showers and do much more.
“We are providing space for women to come and learn how to live again, and to be loved back to life again,” said Mandy Memmel, founder of The Well. “We have a life-development program, a workforce program, we have a drop-in center where we are servicing women who are coming in off the streets and offering essential needs.”
“The day I walked in through those doors, (I’ve) been here every day since then. There was an opening for me, and (it has been) helpful with my recovery,” an unnamed participant said.
The senators also saw how the nonprofit City of Refuge Baltimore is feeding people both in-house and by delivering food from a pantry. Its founder, Bill Humphrey, said he added something new after the mass shooting in Brooklyn: Fresh produce for Brooklyn Homes residents.
“We’re already in a food desert and there’s lack of transportation and people don’t feel safe coming out of the house or getting on that transportation to go where they need to go. It makes it a little bit easier,” Humphrey said.
The senators said what happened in Brooklyn sends a clear warning signal that more needs to be done.
“(The shooting) was a clear warning signal much more needs to be done to help these neighborhoods,” Van Hollen said. “(We need) to help these neighborhoods in the area of public safety, but also in terms of opportunity — job opportunities, job training opportunity, a refuge for individuals experiencing trauma — so what we’re trying to do, Sen. Cardin and I working with the councilwoman, is to stitch together resources.”
“We’re working very closely with the city of Baltimore, Councilwoman Porter’s leadership in this community, working with the mayor, with Gov. (Wes) Moore and our state partners, our total federal delegation is in tune to helping this community,” Cardin said.
On Aug. 17, police arrested Tristan Jackson, 18, and charged him with shooting at seven people. On July 8, Baltimore police arrested a 17-year-old boy who they believed was involved, but did not charge him as the shooter.