The movie “Hairspray” opens with the song “Good Morning Baltimore”. It’s a happy song about the finer points of the city. But as the movie progresses, the very serious issues of body image discrimination and racial segregation take front stage. In the end, it takes a galvanizing leader and a courageous teenager to open the eyes of the public and bring about reconciliation.
Currently, there is a great need for reconciliation in Baltimore since there have been protests and riots involving physical violence and destruction of property. All of which are prevalent in the wake of the brutal beating and subsequent death of Freddie Gray. The images I’ve seen on the news and social media have been both disturbing and disappointing. My heart and prayers go out to the community that has been hurt on both sides of the police brutality and injustice issues.
I know that I’m an outsider looking into the current state of affairs in Baltimore, Maryland. I realize at the end of the day, the people in that city must find a way to bring lasting peace and hope. However, I feel the need to add one more observation to the myriad of blogs, tweets, and posts on this subject. In my opinion, Baltimore needs clear social leadership.
So far, in this circumstance I’ve noticed each media source has tried to get statements from various leaders. We’ve seen church leaders, city councilmen, gang leaders, student leaders, police leaders, mayors, the governor, national minority leaders, and more. But there doesn’t seem to be one clearly identifiable leader who has the influence to speak on behalf of the masses.
During the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was that leader. He was the key figure whose leadership gave the plight of minorities a voice. Historically, every major movement that affected change had a leader who courageously represented the weak in the face of the establishment. From Moses to Ghandi to Dr. King, dynamic leaders have played a vital role in the success of freedom movements. That said, I believe Baltimore could benefit from having a leader who unifies all of the splintered pieces of social injustice into a comprehensive and focused agenda.
I pray that God will raise up a leader who has the integrity to command the listening ear of the public. I’m praying for a leader who will endeavor to do what’s right for right’s sake. This leader must have the complete trust of the people and the selfless disposition to serve the greater good of the city as a whole, without expecting anything in return.
I’m praying for a leader whose passion for this cause will not flicker out after the news reporters move on to the next hot topic. A leader who is willing to do the hard work of deep, lasting, transformational change is needed to insure future generations can shake off the curse of racism and discrimination in the city. I pray that God causes a leader to emerge who has the miraculous ability to grasp anger, fear, chaos, and rage, wrestle them into submission with divine authority and make peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9 NKJV)