By Nurith Aizenman
Travon Addison is an athletic 25-year-old, with short cropped hair, a wispy beard and tattoos all over his arms. I first spot him with a pack of his buddies in the lobby of Baltimore’s New Shiloh Baptist Church. Community leaders are trying to calm them down.
Addison had been arrested in the riot Monday, released two days later, and he’s come to the church because he’s heard they’re holding a summit on the problems that sparked the violence. He’s got a lot to say.
But they tell him only dignitaries are going to be speaking at this event — people like the mayor and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Addison and his friends will be introduced onstage, but they won’t really to get to say their piece. Afterward, Addison is frustrated.
“Y’all keep having all these press conferences,” he says. “But y’all ain’t talking to none of the youth that’s actually out there rioting. That don’t even make any sense! How you trying to find out why we rioting and y’all ain’t talking to us, y’all talking to some dude that wasn’t even there!”
The demonstrations in Baltimore turned into celebrations Sunday when the mayor announced that the curfew, in place since rioting on Monday, had been lifted. Residents also say they’re hopeful that charges brought against six city police officers in connection with Freddie Gray’s death will bring justice in his case and ensure future police accountability.