Now What: How Baltimore Is Working To Be The Leaders Of Social Change

30/10/2015 1:55 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
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In April 2015, the U.S. city of Baltimore was cast into the international spotlight as riots broke out following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man killed by police.

It was spurred on by the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media, along with stories of further injustice surrounding race, crime and policing in Baltimore.

Inevitably, as news stories do, the world soon switched its attention to other issues, but for locals, the tension and heartbreak remains.

freddie gray

A mural of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray.

Fagan Harris, CEO and founder of Baltimore Corps, a placement agency for cause-driven organisations, refused to allow his city to succumb further into the socio-economic divide and has a vision for the city to be leaders in change.

"Why can't we be to social change what New York is to finance? Why can't we be the capital for social change?" he said.

In a city where there is a 20-year difference in life expectancy from those living in the wealthier end of Baltimore to the impoverished just 10km away, there is plenty of work that needs to be done.

baltimore riots

A scene from the riots that took place earlier this year.

Harris has brought together two incredible people looking to change the city by directly helping those that need it most. Chris Wilson, is a former prison inmate who founded Barclay Investment Corporation, a social enterprise that invests in people and infrastructure. Sarah Hemminger is co-founder and CEO of Thread, a mentoring program that promises to help kids and stay by their side for a decade.

It's an emotionally charged episode that highlights every persons need for not only a helping hand, but for hope.

"You take away a man's hope you're going to destroy him. It's that plain and simple. You've got to give people a way out," as one passer-by said.

Now What is a HuffPost Original series looking at the most creative solutions to the world's biggest problems.

To see more from documentary-series head over here.

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