This issue is a hodgepodge of things that are good, timely, and interesting — if I do say so myself.

In our news section, we’re republishing a piece that first ran on The Real News Network, written by local journalist Jaisal Noor. Much has been written about what a great job the owners of hospitality-related businesses did weathering the lockdown stage of the pandemic. The workers who still put their lives on the line daily to serve food, pour drinks, and make up beds don’t get the same kind of attention. Noor’s piece is about workers at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore who are organizing to improve their working conditions. 

“The hospitality industry in general, including hotels like the Marriott Waterfront, suffered tremendous job and revenue losses during the pandemic, but it has bounced back in a big way,” Noor writes. “However, workers argue that their paychecks are being squeezed in order to further enrich shareholders.”

Our news roundup gives you an update on Mayor Brandon Scott’s plans to reduce violence in the city. He says it’s working and is looking to expand it — we are watching it closely and hope to give you more reporting on it in the near future. We also have information about federal money earmarked to right the lingering wrong of the Highway to Nowhere and a new report that Black Baltimoreans are leaving the city. Be sure to read our thoughts about Ravens player Lamar Jackson (finally) getting his money, too.

For our photostory page, Director of Photography Schaun Champion took some young participants in the Youth Art Institute at Morgan State University’s James E. Lewis Museum of Art to the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park to shoot pictures of all the greenery inside. She told me plants make great photography subjects for young people just beginning to learn how to shoot — they don’t move or have much of an ego about how they look in the photo. However, she also said she was thinking about the spring, all of the flowers just beginning to emerge and bloom after the gray of winter, and all of us moving out of isolation into in-person community after the initial lockdown stages of the pandemic.

Arts and Culture Editor Teri Henderson writes about two art exhibitions that make the political personal: one at Mount Vernon fine art gallery Catalyst Contemporary and the other at Lord Baltimore Hotel’s LB Bistro. Both tackle the idea of marginalized identities in specific ways.

“The pandemic has been relentless in its devastation; we are all recalibrating, struggling, stifling, and surviving in its wake,” she writes. “These exhibitions feature artworks that reflect the deeply personal nature of art and artists’ transformative capabilities to make revelatory art.” 

Finally, our film critic, Dominic Griffin, writes about “Ghosted,” which is currently available to stream on Apple TV+. He says the film isn’t AI-generated but is bland enough to feel like it is. And our regular contribution of poetry is back, this time from Writers in Baltimore Schools participant Dorien Wallace.

Lisa Snowden is Editor-in-Chief and cofounder of Baltimore Beat. Previously, she was an editor at Baltimore City Paper, Baltimore Sun, and The Real News Network. Her work has also appeared in Essence,...