In this issue, in anticipation of the coming new year, we asked some people around Baltimore: what are you carrying with you into the future? Here is my answer:

A few weeks ago, I went to Howard University in Washington, D.C., to attend a celebration to mark the opening of the school’s Center for Journalism & Democracy, founded by Black woman journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. Hannah-Jones is an investigative reporter for The New York Times, as well as the creator of The 1619 Project, which frames the beginnings of this country around the start of chattel slavery. 

Even though the event was a celebration, Hannah-Jones and her team planned a day that was focused on highlighting how close we in the United States are to losing what semblance we have of democracy. 

“More than a year ago, I came to Howard University with a vision to create a space for veteran and budding journalists to hone their craft and respond to our increasingly threatened democracy,” Hannah-Jones said in a statement about the event. “Today, we officially launch the Center for Journalism & Democracy, and hold our inaugural Democracy Summit to showcase our philosophy that democracy not only guarantees a free press — it requires one.” 

None of us are free until all of us are free, so the sharp and recent increases in anti-Blackness, antisemitism, homophobia, and transphobia — alongside the escalation of the militarization of police — spell bad news for us all. Throughout the day-long event, academics, historians, and journalists spoke about the path this country is on — and the way that journalism might be able to help.

The Black press has always told the truth about this country, and I’m proud that Baltimore Beat can be part of that lineage. That’s what I am carrying with me as this year ends and another one begins: a commitment to telling the truth as much as I can for as long as I can. I am carrying with me a determination to create a place where other writers in Baltimore, especially marginalized ones, can help tell that truth. Because our lives depend on it. “

The rest of this issue is much lighter, I promise.

Arts and Culture Editor Teri Henderson put together a holiday gift guide full of great gifts for you, your boo, or your bestie. Cameron Snell took photos of Christmas Village in Baltimore, and Photo Editor Schaun Champion gathered up some of your family photos from past holiday seasons. As always, we also have reports from Baltimore Courtwatch, a film review from Dominic Griffin, and year-end tarotscopes from Iya Osundara Ogunsina.

We are taking a break for the holiday season. See you when we return on January 11, 2023.

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,...