Jamala Rogers 2021

This past year has been a year to remember. The country endured the most openly corrupt and divisive administration in modern times. Our resilience and sanity was tested with the worst pandemic in 100 years. We discovered that our planet is deteriorating at a much faster rate than previously predicted.

And while some Christians likened it to the end-of-the-world scriptures in the Bible, most of what this country and the world have experienced (and will experience) were man-made. To make matters worse, the forced isolation severed us from our critical support systems that we depend on for love, compassion and advice.

I like to think of myself as tough and unbending. Experiencing COVID-19 in action, on top of all the political drama was even too much for me. I’ve lost friends and family to the pandemic and to drug overdoses. I signed myself up for a meditating and breathing class for about eight weeks to learn some new coping skills. I’ve been doing a lot of deep breathing and humming ever since.

The year tested all of our sensibilities. We have been profoundly affected in ways that are still being revealed. We took to the streets to make our voices heard and to defend our humanity. These fights kept me going during 2020 along with other acts of courage and compassion.

I was especially inspired by Black and Brown people rising up to fight for their very lives and for their dignity —despite the pandemic.

Despite the laws and court rulings thrown in their way like spike strips.

Despite the challenges of accessing vital services.

Despite losing jobs and benefits. 

Despite the pervasive violence all around.

Despite ...

The presidential election is over but our future is still uncertain. We don’t know the full depth of Donald Trump's corruption and devastation. We’re going to feel these past four years for a very long time.

Our task is to intensify the transformative work over this last year to get to the source of the relentless oppression and suffering. We have learned a lot about ourselves and government in this time of crisis. We are a sick nation — weighed down by social disintegration, political corruption and financial greed. Our efforts must be more intense, more strategic and more collective.

We who believe in racial and gender justice must create pathways toward hope and healing if we expect to become whole and healthy, on both the individual and societal levels. Many of us have sunk into despair and self-destructive behavior.

Then there’s the pandemic. The delivery of vaccines is regrettably short of the government’s goal. Will the vaccines get to people fast enough to make a difference? Will it be as effective as predicted? How long will it take to dig us out of the economic hole caused by the regular capitalist greed and escalated by the pandemic.

I have confidence in the unprecedented wave of folks who made it to a ballot box to oust a tyrant from the White House. I believe they understand that we are better and stronger together, that we all want a better future for our families. Our mission is not complete because the struggle for human rights is perpetual.

Then there’s the 70 million people who voted for Trump. These are the folks who have no problem with the way his administration operated and now believe he was robbed of the election. They live in a parallel universe and will be huge obstacles to our quest for democracy and racial equity.

After braving this distressing year, we should welcome the new year with a healthy dose of realism. We know what’s waiting for us in 2021 and we must tackle those issues with unflinching determination.

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