A video essay, "Swimming in Baltimore: How Poverty Works" and discussion featuring several local experts, including the makers of the video from the Real News Network's Baltimore bureau, will be presented at the University of Baltimore on Monday, March 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Hall in the H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, 1415 Maryland Ave. Free and open to the public.
"Swimming in Baltimore" explores poverty beyond an individual's circumstances, but as an idea that permeates the psyche of the community. "What is poverty, and how does it work? Particularly in Baltimore, where it persists and informs how we live and die," writes Taya Graham, Real News reporter, in an introduction to the video. "Perhaps it can best be understood through a tale about fish. Two young fish were swimming, when an older fish swam by who said, 'Good morning, how's the water?' The younger fish continued on, until one asked, 'What is water?' The point of the story is simple and yet complex: that which surrounds and sustains us can also be invisible."
The film features interviews with Antero Pietila, author of "Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City", and with Cornel West, professor of philosophy at Union Theological Seminary and professor emeritus at Princeton. "Poverty in Baltimore, poverty in the United States, poverty in the world, the global capitalist economy, is a catastrophe visited on poor people," West says. "And there's such a fear, there's a real trembling in the boots of elites at the top, when poor people straighten their backs up, organize, mobilize, and bring significant power and pressure to bear."
Guest speakers at the March 27 event include Jayne Miller, investigative reporter for WBAL-TV; former delegate Jill Carter, head of the Baltimore Office of Civil Rights; Jeff Singer, adjunct instructor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and former CEO of Health Care for the Homeless; and journalists Taya Graham and Stephen Janis.