The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

No Skatepark for Black Neighborhood

Oct 10, 2022

Baltimore and Maryland officials recently said they would not fund a skatepark—a sports facility designed for people using skateboards and roller skates—near Sandtown-Winchester, the mostly black and poor area at the center of the 2015 rebellion. Until this year, hundreds of thousands of dollars were pledged to build one there, after local civil rights leader Marvin “Doc” Cheatham led a push.

Skating enthusiasts estimate the city has over 29,000 young skaters. Many have to travel miles from home to find an appropriate place to enjoy the sport. No surprise in a city which closed 90 of its 130 rec centers from 1980 to 2010, and then held no activities on Saturdays at the rest for decades! Young people have nowhere to go for safe recreation. Dirt bike enthusiasts are completely disregarded. Skaters are sorely underserved.

The state senator who opposes the project made sure to show his face at the ceremony opening the city’s only publicly funded skatepark in a white neighborhood back in 2017. But now he wants no more skateparks.

The justification for not building a skatepark? Nearby vacant homes and drug markets. What? That’s all the more reason to build the facility—and pay to staff it, so the young people have an activity and a place to go to that they enjoy and where they are safe.