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“Nobody Kill Anybody”: Baltimore Ceasefire founders discuss bringing peace to charm city


Ellen Gee and Erricka Bridgeford, two of the six organizers of Baltimore Ceasefire, spoke about their efforts to reduce gun violence in the city of Baltimore on Thursday, Sept. 21. This lecture was the first event of this year’s Bunting Peace and Justice Speaker Series.

Ellen Gee (left) and Erricka Bridgeford.

Bridgeford came up with the idea for a city-wide ceasefire campaign after becoming upset the lack of initiative people seemed to have to help prevent violence in the city we all call home. With the slogan “Nobody Kill Anybody,” the process and planning for the event began. Alongside it, the idea of the Baltimore peace challenge arose, which was created for everyone to think differently about what violence looks like.

“This event was not just about gun violence and murder,” Gee said. “It was also about domestic violence, gang violence, mental abuse, psychological abuse, and more.”

The Ceasefire took place on Aug. 4-6. The plan for the weekend was to have 72 hours where there was no violence, where no one was murdered or hurt. It was an event that was meant to celebrate life. Where people could just live. The event took place all over Baltimore, and when 24 hours were reached without a homicide, the city went crazy.

“People were screaming, it was a party. It was lit,” Gee said. “People said the first day of the Ceasefire that the air in Baltimore felt different. And it did.”

The weekend was full of conversation, music, rallies, and resources. The event went 67 hours with no violence. On Saturday night, however, within five hours of each other, two people were shot and killed.

“We went to the spot of where the murder took place,” Bridgeford said. “We showed up when they had just started to clean up the blood. We needed to heal the hatred toward the murderer and honor that it was a sacred place. We poured love into the space where horrible energy took place minutes before.”

Bridgeford said when the two lives were lost, everyone felt heartbroken and sad. Participants realized that they all had become numb to murder and violence. When they heard about another homicide, it was a normal thing. However, by taking the time to celebrate life, when someone lost their life, they felt it.

“I realized my humanity in that moment,” Gee said. “We had become numb to killings, and we no longer wanted that.”

As a result, they started the hashtag campaign #dontbenumb as they wanted to think of everyone as a person with a face, a name, and a family, not just another homicide.

This heightened sense of humanity was featured in their talk by the discussion of the impact of language. They emphasized how no one should label people and that everyone needs to be aware of the language they use, both on social media and in person.

“You need to remember everyone is human. Yeah, we went up to drug dealers and told them about the Ceasefire. Many people they told us it wouldn’t work,” Bridgeford said. “But we were not scared to talk to them. We decided to be human to each other and honor each other’s light in the outreach. Just having a conversation with someone and talking about life is not scary.”

While the event did not reach a full 72 hours, they do not think of it as a failure. They do not believe they can just end Baltimore’s decades-long history of violence in one weekend.

“The Ceasefire event is not a solution, but a seed in the problem. It shows that when we come together, there is nothing we can’t do,” Gee said.

Bridgeford continued saying, “The homicide epidemic feels like this big thing you have to accept and you can’t do anything about it, but in times when we feel most broken and hopeless is when we stand up and we find out what we are able to do.”

Their overall goal is for there to be no need to call a Ceasefire and for people to cease violence in Baltimore for good. To achieve this goal, they plan to host the Ceasefire event quarterly, with the next one being Nov. 3-5.

Both Bridgeford and Gee expressed their excitement for what is to come and what additions they are making to the future Ceasefire events. For the upcoming event, they hope to reach a full 72 hours with no violence and for there to be more events all over Baltimore throughout the weekend.

“In the end, violence is easy,” Gee said. “But peace is hard, and it takes a lot of hard work. But it is not impossible to achieve.”

For more information visit their website or their different social media platforms.



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“Nobody Kill Anybody”: Baltimore Ceasefire founders discuss bringing peace to charm city