Back to Issue Seventeen.





What senseless violence and bigotry we have encountered these past few months. I struggle, after witnessing such unrestrained, unblinking, and unwarranted verbal and physical violence. I struggle to find relief in inevitability, and I struggle with a daily, weekly, monthly desire to experience true safety.

Because we are the ones still here, we need to write for Eric Garner, for Alton Sterling, for Korryn Gaines—whose names we must continue to say—and for all others who have wrongfully died at the hands of police. For Karina Vetrano, Vanessa Marcotte, and Ally Brueger (who, sources report, was working on her master’s degree in creative writing at the time of her death), the three American women murdered while jogging over the past ten days. For Christina Grimmie, who lives on through her music and the haunting reminder that no artist in the public eye is ever safe. For Khizr and Ghazala Khan, who remind us that grief forces some to be silent while compelling others to speak. For the forty-nine victims of the horrific Pulse shooting, and the victims of the wave of violence against transgender people of color across America.

I feel incredibly fortunate to share writing that builds an insightful understanding of the world, that knows we have to suspend this fear in favor of enjoying life and leaving our positive mark. We need to recognize the simple reality that “everyone … is orbiting a knowing” (Taisia Kitaiskaia, “Page“). We need to, as Kaveh Akbar suggests in “Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Inpatient),” see the goodness in being “healthy and unremarkable,” of “dying at an average pace.” As Terrell Jamal Terry writes in “Hunters,” “You’re alive. That’s crazy enough.” I feel fortunate to know writers like these, writers who understand that the route to a more connected world is not through forests of spite, bitterness, and condescension, but rather through a willingness to open up.

We have reason to be anxious and fearful in our uncertainty, much of it. That is true. But I take comfort in knowing that maybe these words—the words in this beautiful and diverse issue—will resonate. I take comfort in knowing that these words may inspire others to consider the notion that maybe, just maybe, the most effective shifts and most convincing arguments don’t need to draw blood. That maybe, just maybe, every weapon we need to fight ignorance is quieter, is subtler, is already beneath the skin.

Peter LaBerge
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
The Adroit Journal

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