“Ain’t no kids out since this happened,” Anthony Wicks recently told The Baltimore Banner. “They’re scared. Usually, you’d hear music, people would be out, they’d be cooking, they’d be playing. There’s a lot of fear.” 

Wicks was injured in a July 2 shooting that happened in the South Baltimore community of Brooklyn Homes. He was speaking about the mood in his neighborhood in the aftermath of the event. Two young people — 18-year-old Aaliyah Gonzalez and 20-year-old Kylis Fagbemi — were killed, and 28 people were injured. Now, community members are reeling, and local officials are scrambling.

In my last letter from the editor, I said, “We pay a great cost financially for this system that doesn’t work… there are fewer opportunities for people here to enjoy fulfilling public life, more of our loved ones are harmed by a violent carceral system, and crime persists.” 

Wicks’ words illustrate my point.

The world in which we currently live is violent, and that violence touches all of us. The systems that we have don’t work. We need new ones. We need people brave enough to dream of new systems, and we need power structures that can allow those dreams to come to fruition.

Until things change, we can expect more young lives to be snuffed out and more mass shootings to make headlines — until they become so commonplace that they don’t make headlines at all. 

I hope you read this issue and enjoy all the information and entertainment that we’ve planned for you within these pages. I also hope you’ll take time to think about Aaliyah Gonzalez and Kylis Fagbemi and their families and friends. They deserved a better world than the one they were given. 

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,...