On Monday afternoon -- after an overnight trek that culminated in an uphill walk in 95-degree heat -- members of the 300 Men March Movement arrived in Washington, D.C., in a show of their commitment to reduce gun violence in Baltimore.
About 40 men of various ages clad in black T-shirts bearing their organization’s name often leaned on one another for support and pushed through the night to draw attention to the spiraling death toll in Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reported.
This 35-mile march by Baltimore’s 300 Men March Movement was aimed at garnering support for a plan that backers believe will reduce gun violence in the city by 50%. According to a statement on the group’s website, the march was organized to express “willingness to sacrifice the physical time/energy needed to address the rising surge of violence” in Baltimore.
The group released a PDF via its website of an “emergency operating plan” that includes developing youth programs and training 300 volunteers as “street engagement officers” to decrease violence. The group also aims to provide employment for 120 people between the ages of 14 to 28, giving them “positive work experiences that allow them to develop skills and also earn a fair wage.”
The document estimates that the overall project, with five emergency operating centers established in the most violent neighborhoods in Baltimore, will cost $1.7 million.
This was not the group’s first demonstration, but it has been its most arduous. In July, hundreds participated in a 10-mile march on West North Avenue in Baltimore. That march came after reports that May had been the deadliest month in Baltimore in 40 years, with over 43 homicides recorded that month. The march was also attended by interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
The group has gotten media attention in the past. Founder Munir Bahar appeared on the "Glenn Beck Program" in the midst of the unrest in April that overtook Baltimore after Freddie Gray died in police custody. After saying that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was radically different from Malcolm X, Beck said that too many people in Baltimore were “taking the Malcolm X approach,” and turning to violence. Bahar disagreed with Beck’s comparison, and instead emphasized that a small group of “agitators” were misguiding the city’s population.
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