HINDSIGHT IS 2020
We have all heard the phrase hindsight is 20-20. I cannot think of a phrase more apt to capture the essence of what has been a year unlike any other. It can be easy to get caught up in the negativity of everything that has happened this year, or how we have been forced to stay home going on 10 months now due to a pandemic that we never thought was possible during our lifetime, but the reality is that just making it to the end of an unreal year is an accomplishment in itself. This year we began we the usual “this is going to be our year” type of mentality and at this point in the year, with mere days left to go, I am looking back and thinking this definitely was our year. This was our year of learning. This was the year of understanding each other’s fights. This was a year to understand that being quiet for the sake of comfort is not a viable option.
This year everyone was pretty much left to their own devices and to figure things out amid a global pandemic. If you were fortunate enough to continue getting a paycheck while sheltering in place, there was the adjustment of working from home. We found a little bit of space and turned it into our office even if that meant, that you were sacrificing space in your home (I no longer have a dining table, it is a desk now). It was difficult at times and depending on how much stress your workday had was the difference between feeling like you were working from home or living at work.
Then George Floyd happened. For many of us, we had already uttered the words black lives matter prior to May 2020, but this time it felt so different. Perhaps it felt so different because it was not just a few voices screaming it in a crowd. There was now a loud echo. There was now a sea of people coming together from different backgrounds understanding that this is indeed everyone’s fight, no matter if it affects you personally or not. During a global pandemic, we were forced to make a choice- do I continue sheltered in place or do I join the thousands of people on the street making the plead for justice? It was a simple choice. The call to action was simply too great to not answer. The reality is that protesting is extremely difficult. There is the expected exhaustion that takes over your body, and then there is the heavy mental toll that it all takes. It can be overwhelming to be out in the street in community with people who must live these realities firsthand on a daily basis. I will be forever grateful for everyone who put their bodies on the frontlines and led these protests (most of the ones I attended were led by gen z kids). These marches from the summer felt so different than others in our lifetime and there is nothing more frightening than protesting against the injustices of the oppressor as the oppressor is there very much present in heavy numbers with shields, guns, and tear gas next to the national guard with their tanks off to the side, while the people demanded justice, while holding signs and carrying water, power bars, and milk (in case of tear gas). It was the people on the ground who were left to their own devices to demand justice.
Then there was the election. A lot of us felt post-traumatic stress that came from that awful night in 2016 when we were punched in the gut with the reality that something we had considered laughable was literally happening. Now 4 years later, we had the opportunity to get it right, and we did. The pressure and anxiety of this moment was definitely very heavy to say the least. The last 4 years cost so many people, so much, that they could not get back, not even with a new administration in place. We witnessed our families, our friends, our neighbors and ourselves constantly be stressed out by this administration as they put forth their racist, misogynist, xenophobic, and homophobic agenda. I am grateful that I was able to witness the work of activists on the ground that took it upon themselves to motivate, engage and ultimately mobilize their communities to make the greatest voter turnout in history happen. When the people were left to their own devices to secure and election, they made it happen.
With that being said, there is still so much work to do. The divide is more real than ever. There was still more than 73 million people who thought that it was still a good idea to vote for the re-election of this administration. Voting has begun for the crucial Georgia runoff election. We are still in the middle of an out-of-control pandemic. In January 2021, 14 million households will be in danger of eviction. There is a dire need for legislation in regard to healthcare, immigration, justice reform, climate change, and fair wages amongst others. Let's understand what we have learned in 2020 and keep the change moving forward.