A monthly rag such as ours is always trying to be timely, and yet we are almost certainly outdated the moment the papers hit New Orleans. The “nowness” all periodicals aim for is a moving target and in today’s media hypercycle, that target moves fast. Hence, we found ourselves asking a morbid question in preparing this month’s issue: does “Black Lives Matter” still matter? Not the sentiment of course, but the phrase, the slogan, the hashtag. The high profile killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner by police—and the subsequent public actions—captured national media attention at the close of 2014. But sadly, their murders were hardly the first or the last in a centuries-old epidemic plaguing this country and especially this city.
In this month’s issue, we’re really excited to bring you an interview with some of the founders of Black Youth Project 100. You will find a lot more names and histories involved in and consumed by this struggle in that conversation. In this case, I’m happy to be untimely, to be focused on these issues this month—and not “official” Black history month or in the heat of some large-scale media event—because police brutality, institutional racism, economic disparity, and gender equality are all tied up in each other and should not be having “moments” of media prominence; they should not merely be “trending ” just so they can be buried under the next wave of infotainment. It’s hard to talk about race, but ultimately it’s harder not to. We need to keep having these discussions in the lulls between street protests and high-profile incidents, because we’re still a long way off from a livable solution. Confronting racism—white supremacy specifically—and its deadly consequences is not a part-time gig or an occasional singular event, but something to work on a little bit every day.