BALTIMORE, Md. — Those who drive by Sinai Hospital in Baltimore may be wondering why there are rows of red desks out on the lawn. The reality is that there is a terrible and important significance.
The 112 desks are for all of the children who have been killed in Baltimore in the last six years.
There are no pencils, no books and no students.
“I could not imagine losing my one and only child,” said Val Jenkins. “I could not imagine losing my one and only grandchild.”
Jenkins is the founder of Hug Don’t Shoot. When she saw the desks and realized what they signified, she knew she had to get involved and spread the word.
“To here that last week it was 111 desks,” Jenkins said. “To hear that 111 children have been murdered made my heart heavy. We received an email as we were making this process happen that another child was murdered.”
The desks were created by Lifebridge Health’s Center for Hope. It’s a new comprehensive violence intervention and prevention response.
“Each child who is murdered generally has about 10 to 12 people who are also victims as well,” said Adam Rosenberg, the Center for Hope Executive Director. “The survivors of, the siblings of, the witnesses to. Those kids' lives can be saved by providing the comfort, care, concern, and even the therapy sometimes to help them recover from such a trauma.”
Children, parents, police and community members were all out Tuesday night, sitting at the desks.
Among them was a 10-year-old girl who was caught in the crossfire and her mother.
The family has shown tremendous strength and joined Hug Don’t Shoot as hug dealers.
“Somebody told me, well the people who are out here are not doing the murders,” said Jenkins. “Who knows, maybe they will see this. Maybe they will feel bad that they own an illegal gun. Most likely if they shooting somebody the gun is illegal. Maybe they will feel bad. Maybe they will see 10-year-old Kaelin who just got shot in her chest. Maybe they will see all this.”
Jenkins said they are eventually going to bring these desks around the city to share the message.
If you want to learn more about Center for Hope, click here.
This story was originally published by Eddie Kadhim at WMAR.