I almost didn’t feel okay with celebrating this New Year’s Eve. I worried about projects being left undone or incomplete towards the end of the year. You know, the myth is to have every thing done, clean, packed away, or your upcoming year will be disastrous. Yeah that's what I stayed in constant thought about on the 29th-31st. I almost decided to stay in bed, and sleep in the New Year. I mean, I hadn't considered that ever, and the thought of it this year didn't seem too far fetched. Then I considered all of my friends and family who were experiencing the same level of exhaustion that 2020 imposed on our day to days, our minute to minutes, each second of every moment. 2020 took from us the things we took for granted, like personal space, the brevity of forcing our way onto a packed #4 train from Utica Ave, Brooklyn to 14 Street, Union Square, and made us needy and demanding for social interactions even if that meant walking to the corner store for a pack of sour powers. 2020 made ancestors out of those who had given us life, provided care and nurturing anecdotes that solved our problems, and took friends we haven’t reconciled with in years.
2020 was a new scab that was being ripped off each time we put on our pants. It was raw, and it left a scar and repeated pain, over and over again. 2020 reminded us that arguments are minuscule when the origins of the argument are forgotten. 2020 opened our eyes to show us that our neighbors around us, although friendly, may not be rooting for our Blackness when it comes down to the rights of civility, equity and equality are on the table. 2020 unearthed the putrid split of politics and highlighted that our issues weren't really issues unless we championed for them to be acknowledged. 2020 exposed the very real phenomenon of voter intimidation and voter suppression. It forced us to be intentional about how we vote, when we vote, and why we vote. 2020 amplified our activism though our tears and our pain as we lost George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others.
2020 energized our leaders such as Stacey Abrams and Keisha Bottoms to reject the possibiity that Black communities didn't have value or a voice. They encouraged us to turn out and lift every pen and vote. Cori Bush, won a House seat in Missouri, becoming the state's first Black woman to represent the state in Congress. If that wasn't enough, Symone Sanders became a member of the 2020 presidential campaign of former VP Biden as a senior advisor, and then she was named Chief Spokesperson & Senior advisor to our soon to be Vice-President, Kamala Harris. It was not a game this year, despite the deliberate objective to silence voters in GA, MI, PA, IL, to name a few. Due to racial bias in the criminal justice system, felony disenfranchisement laws disproportionately affect Black people, who often face harsher sentences than white people for the same offenses. Sooo what this meant during this past election year, was that a felony conviction can come with drastic consequences including the loss of your right to vote. But different states have different laws, go figure. Some ban voting only during incarceration. Some ban voting for life. Some ban people while on probation or parole; others ban people from voting only while incarcerated. And some states, like Maine and Vermont, don’t disenfranchise people with felony convictions at all. The fact that these laws vary so dramatically only adds to the overall confusion that voters face, which is a form of voter suppression in itself. As you can see, the current results of the 2020 election showed that we were not about to let our opportunity to be in action slip away.
Girlllll, breathe…Our anguish overflowed the cups of communities and our voices were loud and unmuted. Our educational system, now mostly remote forced us to re-think the efforts of home schooling, unschooling, and pod education with other members of our families and communities. We changed our ideas to encompass our history being taught and our children being given the mic to express themselves unapologetically.The workforce changed for everyone and our health care professionals and essential workers paid a heavy price of time. We watched them leave their families for days in service of communities who were inundated with Covid-19 cases Some had to forgo going to work to stand in the gaps for single working parents, while others left children home by themselves to secure secondary employment. We were in spaces were we were coerced to choose getting a paycheck rather than being available for family and personal goals. Nevertheless, we made it to 2021, fortified to change the thought and the perception of our Blackness through our community efforts. We came together and grew ideas out of necessity, innovated the playing field, branded and built businesses that would build wealth and honor our creative spirit all while dealing with a pandemic. A pandemic that would affect our community disproportionately with limited resources. Girllllll, breathe.... We continued setting the trends in fashion, music and still found time to do it for the culture in Verzuz. #IYKYK. 2021 is about to be our stage to GO ALL THE WAY AWWWWF and stand in committment with the promises we made to ourselves. As we have mastered the art of wearing matching face masks adorned with beads or made from multi-color fabrics, we are enjoying this time of self-isolation to enjoy the parts of our city that we have overlooked. We are tasting wines, mixing it up with plant -based dietary meals and working on our summer bodies.
Girllll Breathe..., and find solace in knowing that We DID This. We did this for the loves of our lives, for our children, for our families, for our communities. So give yourself grace, and pat yourself on the back. Have yourself a homeade cocktail, extend your hair day, start a business, dance hard, laugh harder, and love up on your family just a bit. We Made It! Happy New Year. Our outlook for 2021 is uplifting and filled with gratitude. We are going to be fabulous!