“.” My medical school application essay opened with those words, and when I came to Baltimore at age twenty to start my medical training, I was dead-set on helping people in Africa. After two years of attending church in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, though, I fell in love with the community, so my wife and I decided to move into the neighborhood in 2009. I admired the work my church there was doing to deal with the poverty, racism, and institutional neglect Sandtown was known for. (It became even more well-known for these ills in April 2015 when Freddie Gray suffered his fatal injury here.) …In my work in Sandtown, it felt good to be helping others as I had always wanted to do, loving my neighbor in word and deed. Yet I felt unable to help myself.
I remember the day my hands started to shake as I walked the two blocks from my main office to our satellite location. This other office, I knew, had unfiltered, unprotected wireless internet, and simply thinking about the ease with which I could access pornography there made me feel nauseated. I reached in my pocket for my phone to call a friend and community leader, Elder, as he is known in Sandtown.