2021 – Recap, a conversation

This is the last blog post for 2021. I’m taking winter break off. Hope you enjoy this tongue-in-cheek recap of the year. I wanted to revisit the year to maybe remember a few wins, a lot of misses, and just reflect in a not-so-serious way.

Friend: How was 2021?

This is what my conversation would sound like if I were telling someone about 2021.

Me: The year started like a bad hangover from 2020. You remember that year, it was the year we stayed home because of COVID-pandemic. It seems like a blur now. There were small glimmers of hope as vaccines were starting to roll out at the end of 2020.

Friend: Oh, yeah I remember. I slept through new year and the first few weeks of 2021. Trump was still president.

Me: Yup, Trump was still in office. If you were sleeping the first few weeks you missed the Jan 6 Insurrection. People, many of them white supremacists took over the Capitol. Like broke windows, forced their way in, then they acted like tourists taking pictures. One dude walked out with a podium, and another guy was dressed wearing horns and red, white, and blue face paint. Get this Trump even said he loved them, after he told them to go home AND they all just walked out, no arrest.

No way that would have happened at a Black Lives Matter peaceful protest.

Friend: Sheesh, that was only Jan 6!

Me: At least in January we got to see Bernie Sanders wearing mittens. He became the best meme of 2021. Amanda Gorman stole the show as the poet laureate at the inauguration. And Kamala Harris became the FIRST African American and Asian VP!

Friend: I miss those Bernie mitten memes.

Me: Spring was better, hope was alive again. People were getting vaccinated. I’ll admit I was super annoyed with all of the white folks who were jumping the COVID vaccine queue cause they HAD to be first in line to get vaccinated.  

Friend: So typical.

Me: Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, had a fascinating interview with Oprah about why they split with the Royal family. At least in my circles it sparked a lot of interesting conversations about race, colorism, and proximity to whiteness.

Friend: Yeah, I wasn’t going to watch it, but I kept hearing about it and how they referred to the royal family as “The firm.” I also had to look up how to curtsy correctly in case I ever meet the Queen. The poor Queen lost her husband too right after that interview aired.

Me: In April Derek Chauvin, the white police officer was found guilty of killing George Floyd. A 22 ½ year sentence, not nearly long enough for taking a Black person’s life.

Friend: I remember that moment. Sadly, right after that, there were more police shootings of Black people. That long arc of justice is hard to find.

It’s only April in this recap?

Me: Ok, we’ll fast forward to May. NBC announced they won’t broadcast the Golden Globes awards due to the lack of diversity. And tennis player Naomi Osaka pulled out of the French Open citing her mental health. This turned out to be a teaser for the summer Olympics and Simone Biles.

Friend: What was going on with COVID around this time.

Me: COVID, right. The euphoria of being vaccinated wore off as the Delta variant came through.

There was also the “heat dome” that blanketed the Pacific Northwest. It was miserable. 109-degrees in June. Climate change is serious! Oregon and the west coast burned. Yet, three rich white men (Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson) burned ungodly amounts of fossil fuels to launch themselves into space for kicks and thrills.

Friend: Wasn’t one of the spaceships kinda weird looking? (You can go look it up.)

At least we had the Olympics this year. The GOAT – Simone Biles rocked the world when she took a stand for her mental health.

Me: Gotta fast forward the year. In September lots of kids went back to school. COVID was still raging with people who are unvaccinated, which means it is unsafe for everyone.

Thankfully pediatric vaccines are out now for kids age 5-11 years old. That led to another free-for-all with white parents insisting on being first in line to get their kids vaccinated. Like we didn’t learn the first time we did this.

There was also the US withdrawal in Afghanistan in 2021. Earlier in the year a lot of hard news out of Canada with their First Nations. We have a lot of healing to do.

Friend: Yes, lots of healing.

Me: Nothing huge happened in October. Just a rich white men got richer. Elon Musk made $25-billion in one day. Income inequality, wow. There was also a Facebook outage for six-hours in October – so many people didn’t know what to do during those six hours.

Friend: I heard something about another Greek letter, what was that about?

Me: Omicron. Only 7.5% of people in low-income countries are vaccinated against COVID so new variants popup. Omicron has a lot of mutations; so many unknowns with it. This is how income inequality plays out worldwide.

Oh, also during 2021 (March) there was that ship that blocked the Suez Cannel. Like when I-90 was blocked by a semi. Maybe we should all just stay home for the rest of the year.

Friend: Yeah, but I miss people.

Me: I miss you too, but you need to get your COVID booster and flu shot too, K.

Friend: Ok, see you in 2022. Hopefully, no insurrections, pandemics, or heat domes happen in 2022. Something will happen, cause it always does, but let’s hope for less dramatics.

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I am writing from the lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small act to repair and work to be in more justice based relations.