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Thank You 2020
By Jeremy Stone Director, CED Programs
As we close out the year Two Thousand Twenty on the Gregorian calendar, most journalists and social media writers have thoroughly detailed how truly horrible this year has been. And, you know… I get it. For a moment though, I’d like to leave the year with some words of thanks and joy in an otherwise tumultuous time.
This year has shown how truly community-oriented and mutually supportive we can be as a society. During the pandemic millions and millions of people have changed their daily behaviors, worn masks, taken care of neighbors or family members, and reached out across the internet to maintain bonds of collegiality and friendship. Business owners and workers have found myriad ways to keep the wheels of our lives turning, and government staff have confronted impossible problems in ways to ensure that we all survive. Of course, there have been failures and there have been people who just do not want to be part of the solution – but they haven’t been able to stop the rest of society from persevering and hopefully flourishing.
We saw the worst of society crystallized in the murder of George Floyd. Yet simultaneously, we saw almost the entire world rally behind the cause of Black lives and empowerment. The response was unprecedented. It forced communities who had never even considered themselves complicit in racial discrimination to evaluate themselves and try to do better. The work is absolutely nowhere close to being done, but the future feels more tangible than it did before.
Elections on both sides of the border brought hope. Despite the carnival of shame that marked the US election and its aftermath, the thorough rejection of proto-fascism at the polls was a relief. In BC the provincial election elevated so many new and exciting voices into the government. Even unsuccessful candidates demonstrated leadership that will carry on in our communities for years to come.
I am not, by nature, an optimist. I spend my time in a perpetual state of critical-theory-induced cynicism. But as painful as this year was, I came through it loving the world just a little more. I feel like collectively we honestly tried our best. Individually I encountered hundreds and hundreds of people, from the grocery store clerks and bus drivers to the non-profit leaders and social activists, who were all working in a time of immense complexity to protect and improve their little parts of the world. It has been an inspiring year, even though it generally sucked.
So, thank you everyone. Thank you for caring and working and thriving. 2021 will have its own challenges, but if this year is any indication, we have a good group of people in our communities who are getting each other’s backs. I am sincerely grateful for that.