Free for All Baltimore
Baltimore is a city segregated by race and wealth.
Between and within Baltimore’s neighborhoods, there are at least two communities, living side-by-side, interacting rarely.
Our whiter, wealthier communities are regarded as “desirable” by city boosters. They are encouraged to “find their way to stay,” “live Baltimore,” and “explore the core.” They are the artists and entrepreneurs who give Baltimore its quirky cultural reputation and the investors who create wealth here. The existence of these communities is subsidized by our institutional structures of access and investment. The recreation of these communities is celebrated formally and informally in private and public events and spaces and events.
Our Blacker, impoverished communities are ignored when not policed. Their neighborhoods and public institutions face disinvestment. The existence of these communities is viewed from the outside with pity and voyeurism. The recreation of these communities is met with skepticism, hostility and marginalization.
These are our two Baltimores.
Free for All Baltimore believes that while all children and young people have a right to play, the play of all children is not equally valued or provided for. We see one Baltimore which can afford to play, and another which cannot.
Free for All Baltimore will provide for the play of children and young people in Baltimore who want and need a place to be. Our spaces will be accessible, free, open and relevant to the interests of the young people and children who use them. The children will decide what is important about their play in an environment staffed by people who will say ‘yes’ to their ideas and interests.
Free for All Baltimore is a child-led community building project. We do not pretend our work will change the landscape of our city, but we hope it will create small environments of freedom and self-determination within the margins of our existing landscape.