It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. day today, so I woke up early, got my reading and writing in, and then hopped on the bike to meet S. for a ride down the hill and then back up for the MLK Day parade. I seriously love parades, but boy, I’m going to have to learn that Baltimore is not New Orleans. Which doesn’t mean the parade wasn’t great–the Westsiders were awesome, New Edition totally brought it, and the various peace groups are always good to see. There were beauty queens and veteran’s groups and local corporations (“Today Our Company celebrates Martin Luther King, but every other day, we celebrate YOU, with amazing low prices!”) and politicians local sports celebs and all that jazz, but no throws, and the crowd just doesn’t get into it the way I’m used to. But anyway. After a quick and dirty lunch (turkey reuben, where have you been all my life?), I rode over to Central Booking at Madison and Fallsway for the Schools Not Jails rally. The crowd was small at first, but it grew. The speeches were excellent, the energy was good, and it seemed like the perfect kind of activity to properly celebrate the live of Dr. King. I know many people see this as a day of service, but it should also be a day of activism, or resistance, and of anger, right? And who can help being angry once they learn of the $104 million the state of Maryland wants to spend to build 120 new cages to house young people to be charged as adults? The argument is that those children shouldn’t be housed with adults. That the solution is specialty cages seems to be the worst form of imagination. The crowd marched to the proposed site where some members unloaded materials to build an impromptu red schoolhouse inside. State troopers were already there, and I heard them talking: “Ask how aggressive they want us to be.” There was much chanting and milling and police helicoptering in advance of arrests, more meat for the jail system. “Tell them if they cross this fence, they will spend the night in jail.” Six folks are doing just that, but they’re joining an ever-increasing number of others. This cannot possibly be the solution to the systemic problems that lead to this shifting definition of what we call “crime.” I pedaled home, grabbed my stuff, and headed to the coffee shoppe to do a little reading for class tomorrow. Yes, it was a good day to remember not only Dr. King, but the myriad people who struggle, past, present, and future.