Edwin Buggage Editor-in-Chief
2020: Adjusting to the New Normal
In the year 2020 it was one that saw a lot happen in our City, state, and the world. The year started as normal with much hope and optimism; but after celebrating Mardi Gras, the landscape shifted, and unforeseen events made this year one that will go down in history as one that changed our lives forever.
This year have seen us experience the COVID-19 Pandemic, brutal deaths of Black people by law enforcement and cries for justice in these cases all over the world, wearing face coverings, facing the challenges of working remotely and our kids going to school online, many losing their jobs or businesses and the testing of our Democracy.
Living in a Changing World
In normal years we would simply summarize some of the stories we’ve covered during the year; but this year was like no other and it is important that we view 2020 through a different lens. It is important to take note that when we come out on the other side of what’s happened this year that we as a City, nation and world are better humans seeing we are all connected and dependent upon one another.
I Am My Brother/Sisters Keeper…. Masks Mandates and Economic Uncertainty Across the Globe
That wearing masks in public, while uncomfortable at times is important for all of us to stay safe as we have seen over 300,000 people die from COVID-19 this year with numbers still rising. And while we today there is hope with a vaccine, it will still take time for its distribution and getting buy in from the public.
On another front, we are seeing an economic downturn of major proportions. In New Orleans, which is a City that heavily relies on tourism have seen this come to a screeching halt. Today many citizens and businesses are struggling to survive. Today there are hard-working people who are in food lines because they do not have enough food and money for basic necessities.
And the question becomes, what are we going to do? Because in spite of the vaccine, some aspects of life may at some point return to some semblance of normalcy, but many will still be without jobs and local governments may not have the resources to provide some services to its citizens.
Black Lives Matter: Race, Reconciliation and Justice for All
During the long summer months, one could say things came to a boiling point as the nation grappled with the horrific death of George Floyd by the police. While this of course was not an unusual occurrence, for Floyd was one of many Blacks killed by the police this year.
But this event was a watershed moment that lit the wick to set off protest, not only in our City, but across the globe; as people from all races, creeds, and color chanted Black Lives Matter. That they recognized that they could no longer tolerate or turn a blind eye to injustice. It was for many veterans of Civil Rights an inspiration to see mostly young people on the streets; brave and bold, taking the baton and running the race to navigate a new direction for the nation in the area of police reform, the Criminal Justice System and addressing systemic racism in American society.
Democracy Tested and Historical Firsts
In 2020 we also saw our Democracy tested in a year that had a Presidential Election where because of a Pandemic there were record numbers of people voting by mail. In addition, some waited in long lines for hours donning masks to exercise their right to vote in what was a historic election.
The nation turned the page by electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (The First Woman and Person of Color) as its next President and Vice-President. A majority of citizens rejected the politics of division and approach to governing that resembles a dictator. In these challenging times to our experiment in Democracy, the outgoing President is still not formally conceded the race.
This is something that further sows the seeds of division in a nation. But to his credit, President-Elect Biden is vowing to bring the country together to heal and realize that as in the words of the Pledge of Allegiance that we are in fact one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
The Lessons of 2020 and Moving Forward
What does 2021 hold; who knows, but one thing is for certain that 2020 was a year that tested and changed us all. From mask wearing, to distance learning for our children, online shopping, voting by mail, virtual hugs, etc. But while these are trying times, its shown the best of humanity as people are more charitable than ever giving what they have to those in need donating time, money and resources to help our fellow citizens in their time of need.
And yes 2020 is a year that’s changed us all, but hopefully it is for the better where we can see ourselves in others. To decide to be more kind, more considerate, more respectful, more charitable, and empathetic seeing the common bonds that connect us all.