A typical news cycle churns out information. Something big happens, reporters race to the scene, we get all the breaking news, and then we move on. In a city like Baltimore, where it feels like something big is always happening, we get constant, sometimes traumatic updates but not as much opportunity for introspection and meditation. We get the what but not always the why. We need both.

We at Baltimore Beat don’t attempt to chase the news cycle. One reason for this is practical. We don’t currently have the resources to send reporters out on every story. Another reason, however, is that we can’t improve this city’s issues without introspection, without appreciating and understanding what came before us. That’s why I’m so proud to publish Bry Reed’s piece, “Compounding History.”

After last month’s deadly shootings, people far outside the city line know about the Brooklyn Homes community. Reed’s family history and roots in South Baltimore give us a perspective that not everyone writing about this place has. 

“The current neglect is part of longstanding patterns of emotional, physical, and structural violence,” Reed writes. “Gun violence, interpersonal conflict, and lack of community connection are a few of the consequences of what leaders have committed to: ignoring Black communities in favor of white development in other regions of the city.”

Also in this issue, Arts and Culture Editor Teri Henderson gives singer, songwriter, DJ, and producer Ultra Naté her flowers. Naté helped found Deep Sugar, a 20-year-old traveling House music party.

“We’ve never made our crowd feel transactional,” Naté told Henderson. “We are a culture. We are a family. You are as important as that famous international DJ that might be playing tonight. And I think the biggest part of sustaining [Deep Sugar] is that people do feel that they are valued. You’re welcome to be here.”  

There’s other good stuff inside these pages, too. The advocacy group Baltimore Renters United takes us inside Maryland’s Rent Court. Film critic Dominic Griffin writes about “Biosphere,” a sci-fi film starring Mark Duplass and Sterling K. Brown. We have more photos shot by young participants from the Youth Art Institute at Morgan State University’s James E. Lewis Museum of Art’s photography program. And we have a poem written by Writers in Baltimore Schools participant Barakat Ojo.

Thanks for reading!

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,...