2020 – The Year that Can’t End Fast Enough

Picture taken on a December 2020 walk — overlooking Puget Sound

Note: I’ll be taking the next two weeks off from writing. There is a slim chance I might put out a blog post next week, but also reserving the right to not if I decide to catch up on Queen Sugar and the latest season of Star Trek instead. See you in 2021.

It is December 2020. The year that can’t close fast enough for many. It’s been a doozy of a year. A lot of hardships but also some gifts. One of the ‘gifts’ I got this year was the gift of time and the gift of walking sometimes running with a very energetic and active puppy. During one of these runs I started making a list of things that sucked about the year, but also a list of things that I hope will continue.

Things I can now be done with:

  • Sourdough – I’ll keep the starter going just because, but really that bread is sooo fussy.
  • White males being the first on Zoom calls to raise their hands to speak – trying to be so polite in wanting to participate.
  • White women who praise efforts as “wonderful” because they have never thought to do what pocs are doing, but then push back when we tell them they need to change. I saw this more this year than in the past, don’t know why.
  • Air pollution – remember those September days where the air was so bad we couldn’t go outside? I really hope 2020 is a reset for the way we treat the environment. I just read several books to my kid about climate migration. Indigenous people worldwide are losing their ways of life because the way those of us with economic privilege live.
  • Driving – It has been nice to not have to commute everyday but still be ‘worky productive.’ Hopefully, my carbon footprint is a little lighter this year and will stay this way in the future.
  • Alarm clocks – I haven’t set mine since late Feb. Can’t say I miss this.
  • Progressives who are only progressive when it benefits them – How many times this year have we heard arguments for something that sounds progressive but have it stalled because others aren’t ready to give it a try?
  • Zoom bombing — Tonight my kid in passing said one of his classes was Zoom bombed by a racist. It sounded like a childish prank, but still unpleasant for everyone. Along with this, can we be done with blaming technology for Zoom bombing and saying it is really racist who should be blamed. No amount of online security will thwart people who want to commit racism.
  • Toilet paper hoarding – But I have learned to keep a stock on hand and not let it run too low.

Things that should continue:

  • Black Lives Matter – The BLM movement over the summer reminded many of us we cannot stop the fight for Black liberation. I hope we haven’t already moved on because sports is now back on TV and we’re not stuck watching marble racing on ESPN. (If you haven’t watched marble racing give it a try, it is oddly fascinating.)
  • Mutual aid – The mutual aid networks of supporting each other have been heartening to watch. I’ve enjoyed hearing how people are helping each other in different ways – families cooking for each other, picking up food for others because another person is working, sharing books or other resources. These networks have always been there, but COVID brought them some sunlight.
  • Toilet paper sharing – I plan on taking a few of the rolls and placing them in Little Free Pantries around my neighborhood or donating them to the food bank. I hope you’ll join me in sharing your extras with others.
  • Following the lead of Black and Brown leaders for criminal justice reform, voting reform, and justice.
  • Get Out the Vote movements – I wrote over a 1,000 voter reminder postcards this summer and fall with MomsRising.org and a Georgia group. I didn’t set out to do that, but it was an easy way to fill time and to contribute to the 2020 Presidential and local elections. The work needs to continue towards undoing harmful laws that prevent disenfranchised people, many of them people of color, from voting.
  • Zoom meetings – Here is my rationale, online meetings allow many to participate who maybe couldn’t attend before because of time, economic burdens, child care needs, or disabilities. It does take a different skill set to facilitate and participate online, but the more we practice and the more we’re uncomfortable the better we’ll get at it.
  • Long conversations about race and the meaning of race on our lives. I’m grateful to have the time to talk to my kids and others about this in more meaningful ways because we’re not shuffling between activities or packed schedules.
  • Supporting POC owned businesses by ordering takeout, buying gift certificates, and hyping them up.
  • Connecting with the outdoors and learning more about Indigenous cultures
  • Honoring the helpers – We need to continue to honor our essential workers even after the pandemic ends. COVID19 exposed caste and class divides of who is working out of the house and who has the ability to work more safely. Honor the helpers this season and everyday.
  • Wearing a mask and staying home – I’m cool with this for as long as needed. I hope you’ll continue wearing a mask and staying home. COVID19 stats show pocs are disproportionately impacted because many pocs are essential workers, living in multigenerational households, less access to medical care, less access to internet and other forms of information. For a healthy community we need to do our part to keep our poc relations safe.
  • Long walks with the gigantic puppy – I am already fretting the day when I have to go ‘back to work’ and won’t be able to take 2-3 mile long walks with the dog everyday.

Tell me what is on your list of things to keep and things to be done with? I hope you’ll share your ideas with me and each other.

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