How does a community like Baltimore recover? The residents are making it happen.

To me, the reaction of the people of Baltimore when the police murdered Freddie Gray was a canary in a coal mine. It was another sign that systemic poverty and police violence have reached a breaking point.

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If you're not able to watch the video, here's what it's all about.

Why did the Baltimore protests happen?


In the OSF video above, a variety of community experts discuss what the political climate was like in Baltimore right before Freddie Gray's death. It's a story that is pretty well-known by many — at least, to those who have opened their eyes.


“The killing of Mr. Gray while in police custody was sort of the match, if you will, that had lit something that had been fueling for years. Those neighborhoods had been suffering from inequality and segregation, racially and economically."
— Tara Huffman

“They are ex'd out of the labor market. They have insufficient education. They've been sucked out of the communities in large numbers and dropped into the juvenile justice system and criminal justice system. And structurally, they don't have a way to participate."
— Joseph T. Jones

"They have an expectation of incarceration because they see that happening to all of their friends and neighbors and siblings, and that creates a real anger and frustration. You're beginning to see people express that anger and frustration around these extreme acts of violence."
— Bryan Stevenson

But what happened next?

The real story lies in what happened after the media turned its attention to the next shiny object. After a night of civil unrest, residents immediately came together to heal their communities.

"We do need to shape the narrative. Yes, there was a night of just absolute chaos, but the very next morning, the community came together and cleaned up. No elected official called for it and said, 'Yes, let us all come together.'"
— Tara Huffman

"The residents of Baltimore city and the residents of those communities took ownership and responsibility and they started the cleanup process."
— Tara Huffman

"My office is directly across the street from the church where Freddie was laid to rest. That night, we stayed at the church close to midnight with a group of adult men, right, from the gangs and from other walks of life. And over the course of that dialogue, we began to see all of us as equal."
— Joseph T. Jones

The future of Baltimore

This unity didn't just stop the night of the protest. It has resulted in a culture shift for the whole community. By organizing and responding to their community's needs, Baltimore's communities are pulling themselves together in ways that previously were not happening. It's building, it's growing, and it's becoming something really inspiring.

"It has truly invigorated particularly a younger cohort of activists who before now were not activists."
— Joseph T. Jones


"That kind of enthusiasm, that kind of hopefulness will actually change the equation for our political leaders ... so that people have much more justice and equality."
— Diana Morris

"Empathy is absolutely an indispensable ingredient of true justice."
— Judge Andre M. Davis
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Open Society Foundations
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

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A study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and according to Professor Hanns Hatt of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, revealed that jasmine can calm you down when you're feeling anxious.The results can "be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy."

"Instead of a sleeping pill or a mood enhancer, a nose full of jasmine from Gardenia jasminoides could also help, according to researchers in Germany. They have discovered that the two fragrances Vertacetal-coeur (VC) and the chemical variation (PI24513) have the same molecular mechanism of action and are as strong as the commonly prescribed barbiturates or propofol," says the study.

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