I was reminded by Bre what a powerful series this was. I read the series, which follows the lives of two Baltimore teenagers for the last year as they struggle to graduate and go to college while being basically homeless, on real paper starting a couple Sundays ago, and specifically went out and bought the Sun on subsequent days to follow the story of these two kids. Just looking at al the photographs in a row had be in smiling tears at the end, when I saw one kid coming back and hugging his English teacher and one kid at Alleghany College (where a couple of my kids have gone) taking notes in a lecture.
I'm not really sure how things like the Pulitzer are awarded, but I hope the Baltimore Sun series gets some attention. The piece is a good reminder of how important the press can be. In a newspaper that is rarely worth more than a five minute flip-through, this was a moment of powerful clarity. The story deserves some national attention. Just the light it would shed on the state of teenagers in Baltimore would make it worth it.
Reading through the series, it was hard not to be reminded about "Bobby" - the kids all share a loss of a parent at a young age, a coming-of-age in dangerous neighborhoods, a descent into hustling, an uncertainty of having gas and electricity at home, and an exposure to substance abuse of people living in his homelife. He's still up and down. The widow-girlfriend of his brother, murdered at 24 in August 2004, had his brother's baby in March. The mother - homeless and strung out on drugs - put the baby (who is Bobby's niece) in Bobby's house for several months and exited the baby's life. She then came back a few weeks ago, after Bobby and his sister had cared for the baby for the past six months, and demanded the baby back, saying she had gotten everything back together in her life. He followed her, and she's living in a motel. Social services did not show up when called. He's worried. His AP teacher tells me his latest essay is a week late, even though he's lively in class discussions and has definitely read the material (Camus's The Stranger). Bobby is telling him he doesn't want to make excuses, but a lot of things are going on in his life right now.
His latest plan is to join the Army and get his PhD in Psychology while they pay for school. I still just hope that he can make it out of here come graduation in May and doesn't get caught somehow in this city beyond then.
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