This issue is all about dignity. When Jeremiah Brogden lost his life in September, the tragedy sent ripples through Mergenthaler Vocational High School’s football team, through the community, and through Baltimore City as a whole. In a city where so many people are dealing with loss, the pain is sharper and more profound when the life taken is a young one. 

After Brogden’s death, Baltimore Beat Deputy Editor J. Brian Charles spent weeks with Mervo’s football team, talking about what the young man meant to his teammates, family, and friends. Charles writes about how those closest to Brogden accepted the news of his death, and how they chose to play through their trauma. Charles found a team who had endured tragedy and death before. The 2021 Mervo team lost star wide receiver Elijah Gorham, who died after suffering a traumatic brain injury during a game. That team went on to win a state championship. This year’s team chose to continue playing.  

“Maybe this was how they grieved. Maybe the field was just an escape, a place to hide out from the trauma of losing two teammates in such a short span,” Charles writes.

We live in a world where these losses are so often dehumanized. We know the number of people murdered but not what those deaths meant to the world. This is a story that invites us to highlight what Brogden meant to all of us and mourn with those who loved and cared for him.

This issue also captures the dignity of Black ingenuity and creativity in the face of unrelenting hatred and erasure.  Though the image of the American cowboy is often white, the reality is that it was Black and Brown men tending to horses with style and elegance and flair. The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, which recently made a stop just down the road at Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., reclaims an image that is rightfully ours. Cameron Snell captured the event beautifully and Arts and Culture editor Teri Henderson, who has roots in Fort Worth, Texas, provides the context. 

“When I moved to Baltimore in 2016, I found familiarity in this city situated in the Upper South. Baltimore’s Southern roots are present in the arabbers tradition,” Henderson writes. “The clomp and cadence of the horses’ hooves on the road, the jingling of the bell attached to their cart as the driver calls out the offerings of the day. Witnessing the arabbers here always reminds me of visiting the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo back home.”

I hope you enjoy Issue five. 

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,...