Building a Just Baltimore for All Communities:
The Fair Development Recovery Plan
Baltimore faces a human rights crisis marked by deep injustices. The outpouring of protests against police brutality in the wake of Freddy Gray’s killing were the cries of a city demanding racial and economic justice for all. Applying Band-Aids is not enough; we must address the underlying structures of injustice that criminalize and exclude entire communities, impoverish our families and evict us from our homes. Too many people in our city are denied a life with dignity when they are targeted by the police, deprived of jobs that pay a living wage, pushed out of their homes and neighborhoods, and lack quality education and health care. We must build a just Baltimore and end the structural violence that imprisons and impoverishes us. The people of Baltimore deserve a response to this crisis that empowers communities, reclaims democracy, and ensures the full range of human rights across the city.
We are proud to be part of a diverse movement for justice and human rights, and we offer the Fair Development Plan in this spirit, as a contribution - rooted in the history of our campaigns - to finding comprehensive solutions to Baltimore’s crisis. We propose this plan as a first step toward ensuring dignified treatment for everyone and advancing our human rights to housing, living wage jobs, and participation in our city’s budget decisions.
We call for a Fair Development Recovery Plan that brings justice to our city:
1. Adopt a Human Rights Charter for Baltimore We must end discrimination and protect the human rights of all communities and people. A Human Rights charter would apply human rights principles to all city policies and practices and make all city employees and contractors, including the police, accountable to meeting human rights obligations.
2. Create permanently affordable housing in neighborhoods most affected by injustices We must transform 3,300 vacant, re-habitable houses into deeply affordable housing, controlled by communities rather than the private market. We must stop subsidizing private developers for luxury housing and instead issue a $200 million public bond to finance the creation of permanently affordable, community controlled housing, jobs, and recreation centers, linking to already planed school reinvestment.
3. Create living wage jobs for communities most affected by injustices We must require publicly subsidized developers to create living wage jobs for community residents, including for those with experiences of arrest or imprisonment.
4. Hold decision-makers and private developers accountable We must make city government’s financial decisions, including tax breaks and tax incentives, fully transparent through economic development budgets, tax expenditure reports and a public web portal.
5. Make Baltimore’s budget and tax policies more equitable We must ensure that budget and tax decisions prioritize residents’ needs and advance equity. Budget proposals must include human rights impact assessments and involve communities in decision-making.
6. Ensure environmental justice for all neighborhoods and incubate sustainable green industries We must ensure that no community or neighborhood is forced to suffer from pollution, waste, health hazards or other environmental injustices. The city must adopt development policies that encourage the creation of green industries such as clean energy, and support them through public contracting and worker-ownership structures.