‘Don’t let hate infect your heart’

Baton Rouge works to heal following deaths of Alton Sterling and law enforcement officers

The morning of Monday, July 11, began with our editorial team sitting around a table, reeling from the events of Alton Sterling’s death and that Sunday’s protests. We spread out photos of protesters by contributor Allie Appel and made a decision then to scrap almost all the content we had completed for the first half of the August 2016 issue.

This was an unprecedented time in Baton Rouge’s history, and it simply felt wrong not to address it in the magazine.

The following Monday, we found ourselves around the table again, reeling once more. This time, we had The Advocate spread out in front of us with the weekend news that had left the city speechless. Our team had attended Alton Sterling’s funeral just days before, and now we were preparing to head to more vigils and memorials for three fallen policemen: Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald and Brad Garafola.

Our printing deadline was less than three days away, yet we were again faced with the task of telling a story of pain, devastation, fear, loss and unrest in our city, tempered with love, hope and strength.

In the months to follow, there will be time and space in these pages to look at the changes we need to make, the wrongs we need to right and the ways we can build a better Baton Rouge.

But for this issue, we wanted to document all the ways our city came together in sadness, in hope and in anger during some of the worst days Baton Rouge has ever seen. Our goal was to show how people from all parts of the city and all different backgrounds were coping in hopes of building understanding and unity.

Read their stories: 

Painting for Peace: Community comes together through art in the wake of Alton Sterling’s death

We Are More: For one wise teenager, there is so much police and young black men can learn from each other

15 Days: In images, a two-week period that changed Baton Rouge

Making Waves: Youth-led peaceful protest July 10 gives hope for the future of Baton Rouge

Tough Conversations: At a Together Baton Rouge meeting July 12, people from all over the city take the first steps toward fixing a cracked foundation

Flipping the Script: When the Alton Sterling shooting happened in the midst of rehearsals for ‘Hands Up!,’ New Venture made the brave decision to keep going

In Memoriam: Remembering the Baton Rouge officers who died July 17

Moving Forward: Where do we go from here? Four locals share their thoughts