WEST BALTIMORE, Md. — Months after the death and protests over Freddie Gray, a community in West Baltimore cut the ribbon on a new empowerment center named after the young man.
Open on Eutaw Street in West Baltimore, the new center is holding camps and other free classes for young African-Americans like Gray.
“He had to jump through obstacles and hurdles in life, but he has now served as a reminder for us that sometimes you can live on after death,” says Dr. Jamal Bryant, Pastor at the Empowerment Temple AME Church.
“Freddie Gray is a symbol for so many of us in this city and in this community of what it means to be a young black man, trying to fight up against what seems to be insurmountable odds,” Bryant adds.
Gray’s family was in attendance, including his twin sister Frederica, his mother and stepfather Richard Shipley.
“I want to share our appreciation. I’m just sorry it took a tragedy to put a spark in Baltimore city, but that tragedy has led to triumph and I’m glad to be part of it,” Richard Shipley says.
Elected leaders were also in attendance for the ribbon cutting. Like Bryant and Shipley, they too emphasized looking forward and not backwards.
“It’s all about talking about solutions and how we move the city and the state forward for all the people in Baltimore,” says Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford.
The Freddie Gray Youth Empowerment Center will hold year-round classes and camps to educate youngsters on how to be leaders and positive role models in the community.