Wendy Stewart is a native of Baltimore and an adult convert to the Catholic Church. As a life coach and personal trainer, she works with families, children, and singles to bring together all aspects of their lives to be happy and healthy in body, mind and spirit. You can contact her for individual or group coaching at nutritioncoachwendy@yahoo.com.


June 2016
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Recent Comments

That's a weak argument. If anyone want to limit access to his private life, then make a limited use of internet resources for personal issues. I'd like to point out that the IPhone is made in China and it is unlikely that the Chinese government has access to this, and any other, communication device manufactured in China. By making the IPhone in factories under the Chinese regime and denying the FBI access to the device, Apple empowers a government that endangers our future and hampers a government, with elected officials, willing to protect us.


Wendy, I am also of the Roman Catholic religion, all 67 years of my life. I cry for my neighbors also. I do not live in the city, but after all, we are all neighbors. I truly cry for those living in the neighborhoods like yours who live and work and abide by the law, who, as reported many times are afraid in their neighborhoods because of the drug dealers and gangs that rule those neighborhood streets making all around them afraid and unsafe in their own neighborhoods. I remember the Baltimore family that reported what was happening in their neighborhood and in the act of trying to protect their family and others, their house was set on fire and all members of their family perished. I believe in helping those who are truly needy, but I also believe there are the same opportunites for all in those areas of the city as all citizens of the city. There are those who choose to take advantage of those opportunities e.g. attending school and getting an education or finding an honest way to support themselves. I see many help wanted signs, so there are jobs available. I blame the city leadership from the top down for city schools' downfall. There are those e.g. previous mayor Sheila Dixon who choose to spend taxpayer money on what is good for them and their political agenda. Yes, I cry along with you. You make me proud for what I have just read about you and your service to our country. Why is your example not followed? I think that you have a family who teach their values and respect for all to their children. That is what I feel is necessary to help neighborhoods to rise above what we are experiencing now. My prayers go out to everyone affected and I pray that God has a plan for His good to come from this. Thank you for allowing me to air my feelings. Praying for you and the good work you do.



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The Healthy Spirit

Thoughts on the Goodson verdict

A small group of demonstrators stands outside the Clarence M. Mitchell Courthouse June 23 as the Goodson verdict is announced. (Wendy Stewart)

I almost forgot about the important verdict that was expected today from Circuit Judge Barry Williams in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson, the police officer prosecutors said gave Freddie Gray Jr.  a "rough ride" in a police van that resulted in fatal injuries.

I had no plans to be at the courthouse. I planned to catch up with the verdict via local news and online media just like everyone else.

But that’s not what happened.

Instead, while dropping my sister and her new baby off at the doctor’s office, I found my way back to the Clarence M. Mitchell Courthouse. I already knew there were a few protestors there and tons of media. Because I study mass communication and want to be a photojournalist, I almost felt a duty to cover the verdict – at least for the sake of my own professional career.

There will be plenty of opinions on the judge’s decision to find Goodson not guilty on all charges. There will also be plenty of discussion about what might happen with the remaining officers who have yet to stand trial.

This post is not about any of those things.

I was taken aback by the small group of protestors. Though small in number (there were more members of the media than protestors), they were united in voice and purpose. This group already formed the opinion of corrupt officers whom they believe to be killer cops and belong in jail. Protestor Julie McGregor told me of how she witnessed bullying and harassment by police officers and wanted to see change. I want to see change as well, but we cannot hang our hopes on evidence which does not exist.

For real change to begin, we must start with our own communities and foster positive relations with law enforcement. When we stop viewing them as the enemy, we can move forward toward a positive, working relationship.

Some of you may remember my posts from last year’s riots (“I cried for my neighbors”  and “What do we do now?”)  where I described the unrest and helplessness I felt at the time. I also explored five ways in which things could get better. I wish I could say for sure they have.

The bar on the corner in Baltimore where I live was bought by new owners and they are working on reopening, while most businesses from Penn-North down to Smallwood Street appear to have gone back to normal.

We know nothing can go back to the way it was.

Mondawmin Mall has better security measures, shop owners have adjusted their hours, and criminals are still being criminals. What I don’t want to see is a repeat of last year. I don’t want to see people homeless and out on the streets because a few people took the opportunity to create violence and mayhem. I don’t want my week-old nephew to be disturbed by misplaced anger and frustration turned into violence.

I want to believe, for today, I am safe – safe from riots, disturbances and mischief.



June 23, 2016 03:07
By Wendy Stewart

After Orlando: To make myself safe

Women hold candles during a June 13 vigil in Los Angeles for the victims of the mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. A lone gunman, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group, killed 49 people early June 12 at the nightclub. (CNS photo/Lucy Nicholson, Reuters)

There is no doubt the Orlando shooting has stirred up emotions and questions. Some of us want to know why, while others are more concerned with what we can do now. I spent most of the week just being angry.

As Catholics we know to pray and help in any way we can. Maybe you attended a prayer vigil. Maybe you were in the Orlando area and gave blood. Maybe you donated to an emergency organization. Sometimes none those feels like enough. But what could I do up here in Baltimore other than pray (which, by the way, is a completely valid response). Some people are really good prayer warriors and that is their gift. I’m a different kind of warrior.

As a veteran, I’ve been trained to think a little differently than most. Which doesn’t mean I want to sit here and pick apart the tactical details of the Orlando tragedy; there are enough “analysts” who do that on TV and radio. My response had to be super practical but helpful for others as well. What could I do to help myself be safer and help those around me? I didn’t have an answer until I checked my email.

What popped up in my email was a notice about a seminar at Krav Maga of Maryland where I train already. Not just any seminar, but one designed to respond to Active Shooter scenarios. Krav Maga is not a martial art so much as it is a system designed to get you home safely. I’ve always appreciated the training as super practical and teaching me mentally and physically how to be safer.

While we did practice fighting as the last option, it was always prefaced by the context of getting home and saving lives in the process. Just because I took the training doesn’t mean I will walk around being suspicious of everyone while itching for a fight. Rather, I have more confidence in my ability to get home safely and help those around me. Staying safe doesn’t always mean fighting. Sometimes it’s running. Sometimes it’s hiding. Both are perfectly fine. But sometimes it may mean fighting.

I want to help people and I would never want to be in a position where I don’t know what to do in order to save lives. I’m not a doctor, nurse, EMT, police officer or SWAT. I’m a veteran who cares about the people around me. I’m a lay person whose protection sensor is set to high. I’m a warrior.

June 21, 2016 02:16
By Wendy Stewart

Your life in thirty seconds

If you had only 30 seconds to create a slideshow of who you are, which photos do you choose?

That was my first assignment for my Introduction to Mass Communications class. 

When I first saw the assignment, I assumed I would have to speak in the video. Not the case with Animoto, the free app/website I used for the project. All I had to do was pick the right photos and keep it to 30 seconds. I chose photos representing me performing comedy, having fun at Free Comic Book Day, and a few others to represent me to an online class full of strangers.

I thought it was an interesting experiment as it depended so heavily on photos – the very thing we use to capture memories, document an event, and shape how people view ideas, people and issues facing society.

How much of our view of the world is based on images supplied to us by the media? How much influence do bloggers like me have on forming your opinions based on our words and images?

If you can't tell, I find this subject very fascinating. But the point is really to see how much influence we allow the media to have in our lives. To do that, we really have to step outside of ourselves and separate what the media says as opposed to taking the time to really find out if you agree. We live in a world of sound bites and clips apologizing for taking the time to find out more or think about something for more than a minute.

I’m not writing this as a disillusioned mid-30s blogger (the curtain was pulled back long ago), rather as an insider. I’m an insider in this media world and it took a long time to accept. I have sway over opinions and have the privilege to take you into worlds you may never see. This makes me happy. It is my privilege to continue to write this blog and I hope you all keep enjoying it too!

Here is the short video I made for my communications class. Feel free to comment on this and my post below!

June 17, 2016 11:58
By Wendy Stewart

I want privacy

As a tech geek and student of computer networking, I have been intrigued over the last few days regarding Apple defying a court order to unlock an iPhone. Not just any iPhone, but the iPhone 5C owned by one of the suspects from the San Bernardino shooting that left 14 dead.

What's the problem? The FBI can't get into the phone. In fact, one of the security features I love on Apple devices is the one thing keeping the FBI out in the cold. It's a feature you can enable to erase all of the contents on your phone after 10 unsuccessful attempts to log in. This is a great feature to have in case your device is lost or stolen (my primary concern). As great as it is (especially when combined with a complex passcode and Touch ID), who knows if the developers ever thought it would get in the way of a federal investigation?

The Department of Justice essentially wants Apple to create a way to hack the phone just this one time. As far as we know Apple would have to write the code to make this possible.

What if there's something? What if there's nothing? What if one more time turns into 500 more times because of national security? The promise of only one more time goes down the drain.

Thanks to media coverage and people such as Edward Snowden,  the public is much more aware of government surveillance. If Apple complies, many would see this as another way for the government to gain access to our private information. This “hack” into the iPhone could also cause the technology to fall into the wrong hands. Once the code is out there, neither Apple nor the federal government can control its use.

Maybe you think Apple should just do what the government asks in the name of national security and preventing further acts of violence. I see that side and I want to stay secure without any more intrusions to my privacy. I am not saying the government side is wrong or people who come down on that side are wrong. My opinion of the matter is very different. My opinion speaks to my own desire for some of the privacy I still have left without companies being forced to hack their own technology whenever someone in a position of power says so under the large blanket of national security.

Again, this is not me against the government or me against people who hold different opinions. I believe everyone involved is trying to do the right thing for the general public. If Apple agrees, will I no longer use Apple devices? Probably not. But I would extra careful with what information is allowed on my device.

What do you think? Have you ditched your smartphone already regain privacy? Would you stop using Apple products if the hack is created? Should the government have the authority to even make Apple comply?


February 25, 2016 10:37
By Wendy Stewart

Let it burn

Have you ever been so frustrated by crime or the inability of law enforcement to make a solid difference?

Many of us have when the police get some drug dealers off the street and it seems like two more pop up in their place. They return to the streets, defy the police and have no concern for the neighborhoods where they set up their crime headquarters.

What do you do? What can you do?

This was just one of a few storylines in the fourth season premiere of NBC’s “Chicago Fire.”

When a neighborhood tires of a boarded, vacant house being used as a drug den, a fire engulfs the house and they blocked the street to prevent the fire department from doing its job. They shouted, “Let it burn!” because they were frustrated and desperately wanted things to change. The delay in putting out the fire resulted in one death and nearly one more in the house next door.

And while the man who nearly died didn’t blame his neighbors, the firefighters did not understand how anyone could prevent firefighters from doing their job or have such blatant disregard for human life.

That’s the thing: blatant disregard for human life.

Depending on where you live as you read this post, you may not see the problems I’ve mentioned. The struggle is much more real than many believe. I don’t remember the number of vacant houses on my own block and the number of times I might have seen a drug deal go down. I don’t know how many times I have overheard conversations showing how little people respect each other. The worst is when I see addicts of one substance belittle someone struggling with an addiction to another substance.

People laugh and point fingers, but no one dares help. And if you do try to help many times you are chided by the older people who say it’s a waste of time and it’s obvious by their condition the person doesn’t want help.

People don’t even have their basic human dignity anymore. It is taken from them at every turn from higher than normal prices for groceries, housing and the needs of basic living. A vicious cycle which keeps people impoverished is what it really is.

I read a very short bio on St. John (Don) Bosco. The bio said he realized the difficulty in making good decisions when a person doesn’t receive proper education. So he set out to educate the poor in trade and spirit. I was hopeful after I read the bio because it spoke right to the question I had been pondering since shortly after the riots, “Do poor conditions lead to poor decisions?” St. Don Bosco certainly thought so and this mean there must be a radical shift in the way we reach the poor and impoverished each and every day.

This isn’t about being political as the problem transcends all boundaries. Rather it is about living the Gospel and treating people as Jesus would have.

“Whatever you do to the least of these,” right?


October 27, 2015 02:02
By Wendy Stewart

Where are the heroes?


Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans star in a scene from the movie "Marvel's The Avengers."  (CNS photo/Disney)

It’s Sunday night and I’m watching “The Avengers” for maybe the 50th time. Early on in the movie there is a scene between Agent Coulson and Captain America (Steve Rogers) in which they discuss upgrades to Cap’s uniform. Cap wonders if the stars and stripes aren’t a bit old fashioned in this day and age. Agent Coulson replies how this is exactly what might be needed at a time like this.

I think this one scene is pivotal in understanding the thought process behind ordinary people we consider heroes and the superheroes many of us have admired since picking up our first comic book or graphic novel.

Characters such as Captain America (created to be a super soldier against the Nazis), Superman and Batman all have their foes. What makes them last through the decades is how relatable those enemies are to the audience.

Whether our fight is against racism, terrorist, bullies or those who threaten our freedom, we can always look to the superheroes for inspiration.

But what kind of inspiration do we need?

The inspiration many find in comics and superheroes is the understanding how you don’t even have to be a superhero to be helpful or change the world. And while we don’t live in a world where the Justice League, Fantastic Four or the Avengers truly exist, there are real-life examples through history and in our modern day that can equally serve as examples of everyday heroism.

And while there are some people doing great things who are household names (Malala Yousafzai, Blessed Mother Teresa and journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell come to mind), it is not their status that makes them the superstars we have made them. They did the right thing, followed their faith and did not care what others thought of their works or mission. If we could all be filled with such conviction!

While there are many heroes we recognize everyday such as first responders, firefighters, police officers, active duty military and veterans, it is important not to overlook the actions taken by others and encourage them more often. There are too many people who feel their voice is not heard or their call for change isn’t taken seriously. We need to be people who truly treat each other with the human dignity Jesus taught us. As we begin to treat each other with respect and dignity, we can truly begin to make great changes in this world. However, it must start within each of us as individuals. We do not have the luxury of sitting back and letting someone else take the lead. Do as a superhero would do and be the hero in someone’s life.

July 20, 2015 11:57
By Wendy Stewart

For graduates

It's hard to imagine someone who isn't excited for graduation, theirs or someone else's. After all, this is a moment that marks achievement on a number of levels. Whether it’s leaving the nap time of kindergarten behind, finishing a vocational school, or finally getting the degree you've worked for, there has to be a sense of both excitement and anxiousness. On one hand, you've completed your course of study; on the other you are subject to higher expectations.

I can certainly relate to both!

When I graduated from the Naval Academy in 2001, it was a day I had awaited for four long years.” (At least they seemed long at the time!) I remember being so excited I was running on two hours of sleep knowing it was going to take one hour during the ceremony just to hand out all the 1,000+  diplomas and commissioning letters.

So why did I have anxiety?

I was nervous because in 30 days I would report to my first command and have the lives of others in my hand.  I imagine nurses, doctors, lawyers and others go through the same thing.

My brother, Anthony, with his 8th-grade promotion certificate. (Wendy Stewart)

What lies ahead for the new graduate? I have a couple tips:

1. Never stop learning.

This single action will be the key to your success for the rest of your life. Not only will you be years ahead of your peers, but you will become a vessel of our most valuable commodity: information. For those heading to the workforce, experts such as Brian Tracy recommend reading for an hour per day in your field. He also suggests making your commute a virtual university by listening to audio books (non-fiction titles) instead of music. I have found these two suggestions alone to be invaluable.

If you will be continuing your studies, use your newly found free time to keep your brain active much like those preparing for the workforce. My challenge to you is to read in your chosen field as well. If you cannot get a job in your field, then volunteer. If you're too young to work, join a reading challenge or chess group at your local library.

2. Use your library card.

I have heard it said the most valuable card you can have is a library card, and I believe it's true.

The thing about a library card is it levels the playing field. If knowledge and information are hot commodities, and they are, then it only makes sense to go where the information is. This will also save you tons of money.

No matter how old you are, there is something informative and potentially life-changing at the library. It may be a documentary you see, a class you take, an audio or paperback book, or hearing an inspirational speaker. The library has all of those things and more. And did I mention the computers?

Did you know, with your library card, ebooks and audio books are available to you? I am listening to an audio book right now I downloaded on to my smartphone. Yesterday, I checked out some ebooks using a library app on my tablet. The digital world has made information so much more attainable. We would be fools not to use it! So, I really only had two tips because those two are so important they encompass any others I may mention in this post. I pray these two tips will be taken to heart. Nothing kills faster than ignorance and I would like to play a small part in helping spread the word on being well-learned and informed. It truly makes a difference.

What other advice do you have for graduates?

Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, offering words of encouragement to the 8th grade graduates of
Thomas Jefferson Elementary/Middle School. (Wendy Stewart)


June 09, 2015 11:28
By Wendy Stewart

What I'm doing to help my city thrive and survive

The Preakness is barely over and there are already whispers about moving the second jewel of the Triple Crown out of Baltimore, possibly to Laurel. Some of these voices were heard on Twitter right after the riots decrying the dangerous neighborhood around Pimlico and how the city was just too dangerous. It was and still is an outrageous thought.

So outrageous it prompted one of my former teachers, Teresa Genaro, to write in defense of Baltimore titled, "Why has this happened?" for theracingbiz.com. Meanwhile, shops are trying to rebuild and reopen, summer vacation is coming soon and we soon face another problem: what these kids will do with their time all summer.

It's no secret there are fewer recreation centers and activities offered at low or no cost. Although some may have the funds to keep their children proactively occupied during the summer, we must remember that so many families in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods such as mine don't always have such options. Camps are expensive, summer school is a punishment, and, in addition to being costly, sports teams can sometimes play too far away. Now, imagine adding those to a home where no one is available to make sure a child gets to any of these programs or makes sure they stay involved.

This is not some imaginary scenario, but rather things I have seen over the years in my neighborhood and as a cheer coach for Pop Warner. When I speak to the kids in the neighborhood and ask why they aren't participating in (insert activity here), their responses are blessedly honest. They express the desire, but acknowledge lack of available time from family members, cost, and issues regarding transportation. Other times, it is simply a lack of knowledge about programs keeping a child out of an activity.

How sad!

I firmly believe in the power of information and how it and be the difference between a successful and full life rather than one filled with void and regret. Over the past 11 years I have listened to or read countless books on the subjects of business success and personal development. Surprisingly, the concepts transfer from one area to another. One of my favorites right now is by Brian Tracy and is titled, "Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life." It's a simple concept but requires faith and practice. The thing is you could have all you have ever wanted in the world, but if your mindset isn't right, then you cannot move forward.

Such as it is with knowledge and information. Some of us are great at finding and sharing what we have found; others may just need access to the information. This is where my grand idea for helping my neighbors and other city residents (and eventually the nation) comes into play. This is where I get to use my God-given talents and abilities to make a difference.

In that vein, and starting with my fellow veterans, I am relaunching my health coach business. Many have expressed a desire to have a holistic or whole-person approach to help them take charge of their own wellness. I hope you will pray for me and the veterans I serve.

Let me know what you think!

May 30, 2015 07:30
By Wendy Stewart

What do we do now?

(Read Part One of this blog, "I cried for my neighbors.")

As I stayed home Wednesday, I finally had a chance to relax a little and not get caught up in TV media coverage. But questions still linger about the death of Freddie Gray and police accountability. While I can’t answer those questions. I can say there are many voices that need to be heard and many actions that need to be done.

First, I would like to say that I do hear everyone’s concerns. I have heard all sides, and while I don’t have to agree with everyone, I will continue to support the right to peaceful assembly. I will not supported sharing your “message” through violence. That’s how misunderstandings happen and messages get lost. Keep it simple if you want to draw attention to your cause, whatever it may be.

Secondly, many people who don’t live in the area are wondering what they can do to help. I have some ideas for you:

1.                 Keep the conversation going. 

When things are troubling we can talk about this rationally like adults and, hopefully, explain to our kids how to be heard, just like the students who marched from Penn Station today, without resorting to violence. Remember that it’s okay to take sides but be careful when you don’t have all of the facts. Reacting out of fear or anger never helps the situation.

2.                 Participate in a peaceful protest.

If you happen upon a group you agree with and they will be peacefully demonstrating, feel free to join in. Many times, these are are also family friendly and it reiterates what I mentioned in the first point. It’s amazing what people can do when they come together for a common cause.

3.                 Keep praying.

As I walked the neighborhood Tuesday, I said the rosary and the St. Michael prayer many times. That photo of me from the NY Daily News wasn’t for show. I grabbed one of the guys helping to keep the peace and told him what we were going to do. We happened to be joined but the man in the orange shirt. People were doing lots of talking and shouting but not enough praying. Whether you lead a group in prayer or just remember throughout the day. Prayer is a powerful weapon and we must deploy it often. It keeps us in touch with God and the needs of our fellow human beings.

Image via James Keivom | New York Daily News


4.                 Keep doing God’s work.

Serve the poor. Volunteer. Donate time or money. Remember, this is what the Church does and we will continue to do. Have you seen the viral photo of the little boy offering water to police officers? Sometimes it’s small actions like that which make a huge difference. Did you hear about the mother and her child (7 years old with cerebral palsy) who lost their home, and her son’s much needed wheelchair, when the neighboring store was set on fire? You can read that story here and visit their donation page http://www.wbaltv.com/news/fire-destroys-store-home-of-mother-disabled-son/32631276. Of course there are shop owners and employees who lost their only means of making a living. Be on the lookout for a spike in need at food pantries and other places serving the poor and marginalized. Be there to lend food and support. Help others find employment and help rebuild businesses around town. No one deserved what happened to them, even if it was a liquor store.

Thing of it all is that we have been so comfortable for so long, that the need for change has kind of exploded in our faces. We are, again, reminded that our livelihoods could be taken away at any time for any reason. We may find ourselves like the one mother, Tracy, whose place of employment for the last four years was looted and she no longer has means to support her three children.

What we decide to do here and now, no matter how you choose to help, will help us rebuild this city, our communities, and strengthen our faith. We must find a way to help each other, no matter where you live. We much continue to fight for the poor and marginalized. We must continue to find ways to uplift and enrich.

Oh, and if you happen to have skills in counseling or mental health, your skills are always needed for not only the kids, but for many who have lost hope. Seek out schools where the counselors might be overwhelmed.

Please leave comments on more ways to help. Especially creative ways that can be done with the family. While everyone may not appreciate the help and attention, I will be the first to say, “Thank you.”



April 30, 2015 09:27
By Wendy Stewart

I cried for my neighbors

Since it’s Wednesday, I’m sure you, dear readers, are well aware of why Baltimore City is in a State of Emergency. What you may not know, is that much of that violence was in my own neighborhood; on my own block.

Let me take you back to Monday afternoon.

A friend and I went to Mondawmin Mall to go to Target. As we came up from the subway station, I noticed an unusually heavy presence of MTA police officers and BPD officers (Baltimore Police Department). Many of the BPD officers I saw were usually stationed at the mall due to the high number of students who use the transit hub. But it didn’t really hit us until we went in the mall.

As soon as we stepped into the mall, we saw shop owners rushing to close down their kiosks and stores. Some stores had to wait for approval before closing as the mall had not officially shut down yet. I saw an employee friend and all he could tell me was that something was going to happen, though he did not know what, and everyone was trying to hurry and go home. When we walked out to Target, we could see that was indeed true as carts were used as barricades at the doors.

We were able to get through the mall to get back out and we went our separate ways. I took the bus home and thought maybe they were just overreacting to some perceived threat.

How wrong I was!

After about an hour or so of being home, my aunt and I turned on the news to see what most people saw, kids throwing cement, bricks, bottles and anything else they could find at the police officers. The officers held their line. I wondered if my cousin was up there as he is a school police officer and I prayed he would be safe. I watched as the police did their best to disperse the crowd and clear the Mondawmin area.

Then I saw the looting at the CVS at North and Pennsylvania. I go to that CVS. It’s the closest to me. There is a library right across the street and many busses stop at that intersection along with another metro stop. I wondered how long it would be before my mom and brother made it home safely from work and school.

I watched the store go up in flames and the angry mob, so bent on destruction, make their way down North Ave, getting closer to my street, looting and hurting people along the way.

Then I went outside and saw they were only half of a block up from me at the beauty supply store trying to break in. There were so many people and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I prayed the shop owners were gone so at least they would be safe, unlike the poor owner from just around the corner who had been dragged out and beaten before they looted his liquor store.

When the mob finally broke in to the store, the crowd cheered and the looting began. Those armed to break in made their way to my side of the street to break in to the Fireside North liquor store. We just call it the bar but it was more than that.

Cheers when they broke in but the shop owner was still there. They beat him and smashed the windows of his car. It was right when they started to beat him that I felt the need to go and help. I needed to get him to a safe place. My family begged me not to go up there because I couldn’t help. Anyone who has been in a helping profession knows how hard it is not to step in. I fought for my country. I spent time in the military protecting our rights and the rights of others but I am powerless against an angry mob of criminals and vandals? 

I broke down. I had to go inside my neighbor’s house and all I could do was cry. This was so wrong and feeling helpless was the worst. I already have PTSD and this was no help. So I call Father David Mott, OP, pastor of my parish, Saints Philip and James. God bless all the priests, especially those at my parish. He was able to help me get my head on straight and calm down to understand why my family was so adamant I do nothing. After a good talk, I pulled myself together and went back outside.

Crowds were still looting but it wasn’t the juveniles everyone thought was behind this. No, people who didn’t live in my community were driving in to loot and take what they thought they deserved. Some tried to sell it right after they stole it. I heard some younger neighbors (under 30) say the bar owner deserved what happened.

No one deserves that. Never.

Young and old, people came to get what they wanted. Parents brought their children with bags. People with canes and braced arms went in for things. Only a few people managed to call their relatives back from the madness. It went on for what seemed like an eternity. After two hours I could not believe there was anything left to take.

It was shortly after that the bar was set on fire and flames engulfed the building. One of my sisters called 911 to get the fire department. After the crowd cleared, because they started to head back to Mondawmin Mall, it took one ambulance, 5 engines, and one truck to finally put out the fire. For the protection of the fire department, an armored rescue vehicle from the state police stood watch over them. Even CNN was there. Then I heard it was set on fire again.

By 9:15 pm, we were all exhausted. Emotions ran high and I was still in shock and disbelief over what I witnessed with my own eyes. One of my Naval Academy classmates saw one video I posted on Facebook and accurately described it as a war zone - something I thought I would never see.

Sleep only came because I have medicine for that. But I know many who couldn’t sleep, likely out of fear of more violence and being caught unprepared and unable to respond.

They destroyed my neighborhood and my community for what? I’m still not sure but I’m certain whatever message they thought they delivered was lost in the violence. It usually is.

So, I wanted you all to read how things went down around where I live. I will post again on what I think should happen now and what I encountered the day after all of this destruction.

Photos from Tuesday can be seen on my Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28692914@N06/sets/72157651841311758/.

Comment below with your thoughts on what I witnessed and how that compared to what you saw of all of this on Monday. Thank you for reading!


April 29, 2015 02:21
By Wendy Stewart

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