The Of1Tribe goal is to promote a sense of community and highlight the positive things that are taking place everyday in our city. We all know too well of the darker side of this town, as the son of a murder victim, I most certainly do. Those myriad issues need to be urgently addressed, of course. Here, though, I choose to focus on the other end of the spectrum. Know that this not a political statement. Symbolism, however, is most certainly intended. The message is: I love my city, I care about my fellow Baltimoreans and we’re in this together. My hope is that the Of1Tribe message will inspire you to be a more engaged citizen and friend. If you see someone wearing an Of1Tribe shirt, give a nod or fist bump and keep this in mind. Follow us on Facebook to learn about good things that are happening around us and share your own stories and thoughts.
The inspiration for Of1Tribe comes from many places. It comes from the daily concern I feel for our fractured and mercilessly battered city, a city beaming with pride and potential but mired in an unending series of horrors. Inspiration also comes from time spent in thought after reading a book called Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger, which I definitely recommend. In his book, Junger details the pitfalls of living in increasingly secluded little worlds and the theory that adversity can be a tremendously unifying force. Holistically, Tribe examines what can be learned from tribal societies and why we are stronger when we unite for a common cause.
Choosing a quintessential block of Baltimore row homes as the icon for Of1Tribe was simple. The classic row house, to me, is emblematic of life in Baltimore and a town that I wish had more in common from one zip code to the next then the familiar brick facades. People of all walks of life call the four walls of an early 1900s row house “home” – everyone from surgeons, to homeless folks seeking sanctuary in a vacant, even if it’s home just for a night or two, and everyone in between. No matter what neighborhood you call home, some of your life’s biggest moments have likely unfolded in a row house. In fact, my father was murdered in one.
I recently read an article in an inflight magazine about new beginnings. There was a piece that featured an inspiring story about a community in Houston that banded together for the common cause of rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey. One volunteer, who lived in a trailer for 10 months during the rebuild was quoted as saying, “the worst times in our lives are also sometimes the best. I was truly touched”, when speaking of the combined efforts of the people to put their city back together. The story reminded me immediately of Junger’s Tribe and how this Houston man’s spirits had been buoyed by the same dynamic as the premise of which Junger wrote.
Back in Baltimore, it's easy to see we don’t have a clear, defined plan or materials list for how to right our city. Our problems are complicated and much more persistent than those posed even by a brutal hurricane. Similarly, though, guiding our city to better times is most certainly going to take a collective, synergistic effort. Remember that we're stronger when we come together.