Working and living just minutes from Baltimore City, I was drawn to this month’s coverage of the riots. On Monday, the Mondawmin Mall was looted, about 20 businesses and 144 cars were burned, more than 20 police officers were injured, and about 235 people were arrested. Baltimore quickly became characterized as a city filled with riots and thugs. What is striking is the way the city reacted. If one could ask the city “Is this who you want to be,” Baltimore would’ve responded quickly with a loud “No”.
Overnight, Baltimoreans were determined to shift others’ perceptions of the city. The mayor urged people to share positive images of Baltimore on social media under the hashtag #thisisbaltimore. More than 2,000 people cleaned up shattered glass and debris, clergy from different faiths joined together to minister and mediate between police and potential trouble, a Vietnam Veteran stood amidst protesting kids telling them to “get their butts” home, a mother was shown lecturing her teen son as she dragged him away from a crowd of rioters, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra played a free concert on the street where the riots had taken place, and a young boy was photographed sharing water with a police officer while a man on a bike was shown fist pumping law enforcement officers.
While the stories of protestors, curfews, and National Guard presence still existed, the city had significantly shown the world who they were: a city filled with people that care deeply for each other and their home.
If the city of Baltimore can shift perception, what can your organization do, what can you do? Be that team that focuses on possibilities rather than problems. Be the person that inspires rather than stifles creativity.
The first step to creating your “new who” is knowing who you want to be.
What habits are you ready to change to shed the “old you”?
What would you like to change to be more aligned with the “new who” you want to be?
What is one specific thing you can do tomorrow?