Two Baltimores

Save The Children” © Kondwani Fidel

Save The Children” © Kondwani Fidel

"There are two Baltimores, and your zip code determines whether or not you live or die."

These are the harrowing words of poet and author Kondwani Fidel. Raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Fidel chronicles how he firsthand experienced loss over, and over again as a byproduct of living in an impoverished community. His essay, How a young boy has been decaying in Baltimore since age 10: A Death Note, leaps from murder, to phone call, to funeral, illustrating the communal grief of black youth in America. 

Fidel sites Harvard economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, whose studies show that “Baltimore is at the bottom. But it’s really at the bottom for boys. So are cities like it — places with a high degree of economic and racial segregation, where the schools are weak, crime is high and social capital is scarce. The places in America where poor kids have the most economic mobility are, by and large, not where blacks live."

A list of things I’ve seen at funerals: fist fights amongst friends, family, and I’ve even seen a pastor get knocked out by a quick jab. Drunken fathers have jumped in the ground screaming, “I want to be buried with my son,” at burial sites. I even know of some people who committed suicide after losing a loved one. When anger has been bottled up for ages, anything is liable to take place.
— Kondwani Fidel, Medium

Kondwani Fidel, author of Raw Wounds, has been featured in Business InsiderMicCNN, and elsewhere. He has been published in The RootThe Afro, and City Paper
Fidel is a 2016 recipient of the ‘Ford: Men of Courage Award,’ and a M.F.A. Candidate at the University of Baltimore, concentrating on Creative Writing and Publishing Arts. 
Follow him on InstagramTwitter, Snap, and Facebook: @KondwaniFidel