You started as a year for new beginnings.
A year that would give so many a fresh start, a redo. You brought hope, new commitments, loyalty, and acceptance with you as the ball dropped in New York City. We counted down, sipping sparkling apple cider, and blessing the new milestone we had crossed together as a generation. But one by one, our year for new beginnings proved to be more literal than we hoped. You brought us unsurmountable sufferings.
One after Another
Australia burned, a deadly pandemic festered, the unlawful death of George Floyd and many other Black Americans due to police brutality; the explosion of Beirut resulting in as many as 220 deaths, the stock market crashed, and “unemployment rates in October fell to 6.0 percent for Whites, 10.8 percent for blacks, 7.6 percent for Asians, and 8.8 percent for Hispanics”.
With global warming steadily intensifying, we saw just “through September, the U.S. had 16 natural disasters (including wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and drought), tying the record set in both 2011 and 2017”. Amplifying civil and political unrest in our country has become unimaginable and lethal. You were supposed to be different. You were supposed to be the year with all of the answers, the year for our future. Yet, you proved to be a challenge, a wake-up call for the world. Have we woken up? Are we awake? Have you succeeded?
But perhaps, we did some of this ourselves.
Maybe all of our slumberings caught up to us. Years of scientific reports and projectors that we so subtly closed into a box, whispering “out of sight out of mind”.
Hundreds of years of advancement in medicine and infectious diseases, and pandemic procedures put in place: abandoned. Hundreds of years of racial discrimination evolving, now hiding in establishments that conceal what it truly is: racism. Maybe this wasn’t just a stroke of bad luck caused by someone skipping on the black-eyed peas during dinner on December 31st, 2019. What if you were just a domino? Dominos that fell because they were already set up and waiting for one small movement to topple the first?
If that is the case, we have to understand that the dominos will keep falling through 2021, and possibly through 2022. We may not be able to stop the dominos once they have started their rapid descent. However, we can keep them from being rebuilt once they stop. We can sit in the circle of shinny white ivory and contemplate what we missed, what we ignored, and what we caused. As well as reflecting on you, 2020, the year that we cursed.
We must stop blaming you and instead, blame ourselves. The dominos are falling. We are awake. 2021 waits for us. What will we do?