For Huck Magazine: 

Baltimore’s murder rate has reached an all-time high. Activist Erricka Bridgeford knows she can’t stop the killings, but through a ceasefire campaign built on compassion, she’s leading the city on a decades-long quest for change. Baltimore saw a record 343 homicides last year and although 2018 has barely begun, 27 men and women have been murdered in 39 days. To help stem that cycle of violence, Erricka co-founded Baltimore Ceasefire 365, a grassroots initiative with a simple goal: “Nobody kill anybody for 72 hours.”


It takes months of planning for a ceasefire to have a chance at success. There are events to coordinate, from block parties to peace walks, and a wave of publicity to sustain. Even more important is facilitating dialogue at street level. Mediation is Erricka’s specialty.


Growing up in West Baltimore, Erricka has experienced profound loss. At 12, she saw her friend Mike dying on the sidewalk. In 2001, her brother was shot and declared dead but managed to survive. In 2007, another brother was shot – this time fatally. In 2015, she lost two cousins and a stepson. “It feels like my own blood has been spilled on these streets.”

West Baltimore's cemetery, where many of the city's murdered are buried, stands at the center of many of the events taking place for a Baltimore Ceasefire event where community events are held throughout a weekend in an effort to stem killings. 

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Letrice Gant, an organizer of Baltimore Ceasefire, performs a sage burning ceremony in an effort to cleanse the site of a recent murder. 

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Baltimore’s murder rate has reached an all-time high. Activist Erricka Bridgeford knows she can’t stop the killings, but through a ceasefire campaign built on compassion, she’s leading the city on a decades-long quest for change.

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Bridgeford and other supports march through Baltimore neighborhoods, stopping to pray at the site of recent murders throughout the city. 

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Hearing the chats of ceasefire supporters, the mother of a recently killed man greets Bridgeford and other activists in a show of solidarity against street violence. 

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A cookout is held on a West Baltimore street corner offering of free food, music, and fellowship to any and all.

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Erricka’s phone buzzes with the news she’s been dreading: a man has been critically shot. It puts the ceasefire in jeopardy, but the goal remains intact.

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A Baltimore police officer investigates a shooting that critically wounded one man during the ceasefire weekend.

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