Mourning the Loss of Dante Barksdale

We join much of Baltimore in mourning the tragic loss of Dante Barksdale who was shot and killed on Sunday morning, January 17, 2021.  A dynamic man, community leader, and champion of change in this city, he was regarded by those who knew him as “one of a kind.” Dante, whose nickname was Tater, was an early team member at our first Safe Streets site in McElderry Park in 2008. He worked tirelessly, around the clock, to promote peace and help find alternatives to violence. His commitment to saving and changing lives was inspiring and very effective. The loss of Dante Barksdale is extraordinarily sad for the Living Classrooms and Safe Streets family and for the City of Baltimore.

We were extremely proud of Tater, who turned his life around and continued to add skills and education while working at Living Classrooms, and then transitioned 8 years ago to the newly created Outreach Coordinator position with the Baltimore City administrative Safe Streets team with the Health Department, and eventually to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in City Hall — who we continue to work with regularly. Tater was wonderful working with all the new Safe Street sites that have now opened across the city and he will be sorely missed. We have been talking to a lot of people over the past few days trying to understand what happened and help in any way we can. Our two Safe Street sites will continue every day to lean into the work of reducing violence and stopping shootings and killings and we know that Tater will be with us in spirit.

We send our condolences to Tater’s family, extended Safe Streets family, friends, and colleagues.  We are committed to keeping his legacy alive as we continue the important work of ending gun violence in our city neighborhoods.


We have created a fundraiser on his wife and daughter’s behalf to help them with the funeral and burial expenses.  Please consider making a contribution to help the family during this difficult time.

Donate to the family here.