Where to begin. 2020. The year that just kept giving and giving when in reality, you look around and you’re still trying to figure out who asked! As each year comes, we are hopeful for change. We are hopeful for those “New year, New me” vibes. Guess what? This is the first time where I think we can truly say that EVERYONE got their wish. We all became new in one way or another.
First change I noticed: My wife. 6 years of sickness. 6 years of unknowing. 6 years of worrying that she wouldn’t recover and 2020 was the year that we got her back. I’m typing this while watching her prep an Ebay package as she has started a business this year, excelling and prospering so much. She is amazing. She is fierce. She is back. This was one of my favorite highlights of 2020. With that highlight kicking this post off, there was more to 2020 than just one singular story.
We, as a country, also collectively dealt with some odd, weird, and terrible things this year. I first knew that things were gonna get pretty rough when I was down in San Diego for work back in early March. I witnessed a fistfight over small hand sanitizers at the beginning of the pandemic. San Diego was a hot spot and when I made it back to Bend… we began prepping for COVID.
Fast forward to May when George Floyd was murdered and things changed for a LOT of us. I watched myself change in ways I didn’t expect. This is the year that I, like many, found our voice. We found a purpose we were not expecting. We found ourselves in positions that have deep impact for future generations.
We made history.
For many in the BILAPOC community, our generation is now in the history books. Some of us will find our names mentioned while others worked in the background. All have their place. We have met & worked with allies, while we have also been betrayed more times than we can count. We learned the necessity of listening before speaking. We also learned to speak up when others try to tell us to keep quiet because THEY are comfortable with the previous status quo that was completely lopsided.
We saw young black women take the lead and move the ball down the field closer to an equitable society further than most attempts in the last decade. We learned and experienced what De-Arresting is all about. We saw a people educate themselves on politics and policies, join committees, speak up and work to break down systemic racism. I’ve watched our community rise up and watch out for each other in ways that you hear about in movies or read about in times gone by. I watched a man stand in front of an ICE Bus to prevent our neighbors from being snatched up, rallying an entire community to stand with him. I watched as two women stood up to a racist police system, week after week, month after month, ultimately forcing them to bring down a doxxing video that was putting her and her family’s life in danger. I’ve watched a church do what churches were called to do and house the houseless while the city spun their wheels. I’ve seen a regularly occurring pop up soup kitchen happen week after week, filling bellies of those less fortunate, garnering the support and backup of local restaurants pitching in with supplies. I’ve watched a group of fathers working on after school programs for the BILAPOC community. I’ve watched a nation as well as the local community make their voices heard and changed the political spectrum for the next four years, bringing diversity, equality and hope to our local and national legislation. I’ve seen artists, musicians, public speakers, writers, and makers find their footing and have begun creating beautiful creations. We’ve also seen people try to deter and derail all of the positive work that has begun. But guess what?
We will not stop.
We will not be deterred.
We will not let them set us back further.
The very definition of “we” is: “Used by a speaker to refer to himself or herself and one or more other people considered together.”
Together. That word together has new meaning for me in this regard. We are supposed to fight injustice together. We are supposed to call out bullshit when we see it. We are supposed to help each other when we see a need. We are supposed to speak for those that can’t speak for themselves. We are supposed to encourage each other when we see someone dealing with trauma. We are supposed to do this all… together.
I’ve mentioned before that we are moving into a transition… a time of change. We will see a changing of the guard locally and nationally on the political spectrum. We will see appointments to positions filled with more BILAPOC community members than ever. We will see a breakdown of systemic racism continue much to the chagrin of people that want to hold on to the old ways. We will see a heavy fight against racism in our schools. We will see resistance to gentrification in our neighborhoods. We will see a change in the scope of law enforcement. We will see this through…
I’ve made a lot of new friends over this last year. I’ve found a connection to my race, community and new purpose. I would easily step in harms way for any of these people. I want to preserve, cultivate, and nurture these relationships. I am more thankful for these kind, wonderful, strong people. With this unity, we will continue to speak truth to power. We will continue to call out the nonsense that we’ve been fed all our lives. We will make change. We will BE change, together.
I have found my voice. It is strong. It is sure. And any missteps that happen along the way, I will correct them. I pride myself in trying to learn from every experience. I look forward to growing and transforming with all of you in 2021 and beyond. We have a lot of work to do. And if you have the intention of trying to derail the progress that is being made for your own gain, clout chasing or activist “tourism”… don’t bother. It won’t work. It may make a temporary public spectacle but I encourage you to realize that you have a misconception of the strength that has been gained this year. We have only begun and we are continuing to change the world.
2021 = Transformation