Activism won't die in 2020
( Koshu Kunii / Unsplash)
As we fade into 2021, it’s important we don’t let this year’s social movements fade behind us. After the death of George Floyd this summer, the injustices that Black people face in America could no longer be hidden. This year’s been a big one for protests and standing up against injustices. It’s been a year of calling out each other’s microaggressions and learning (and continuously working on) how to actively be anti-racist. It’s been protests and piercing headlines and wanting the world to, just for a moment, be quiet.
I get it. We’re all drained, probably more than we realize.
And while most of don’t exactly enjoy thinking about the social and political issues that plague this nation, we can’t push them to the back of our minds as we enter the new year.
2021 will be a fresh start. Joe Biden will be the new president elect. COVID-19 vaccines will be churning out. And little by little, the nation’s taking responsibility for its wrongdoings.
And there’s a lot to celebrate from that! But the work is nowhere near done.
Black Lives Still Matter
For some, 2020 may have been an awakening to the injustices that Black folx have been experiencing in America for decades. It’s been a year when “defund the police” and “systemic racism” may have been added to your dictionaies and your Thanksgiving conversations carried more tension than usual.
But all the brutality, protests, painted streets and even the black Instagram squares (alright, maybe the squares) don’t expire when the clock clicks into 2021.
Just on Tuesday evening, two Louisville police who were involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor were fired. On that same night, Cleveland police officers escaped federal charges for the murder of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black boy who died for playing with a toy gun.
Since the announcement of Joe Biden’s election win, President Trump has been in a rush to speed up federal executions before his time runs out. This administration carried out the executions of civilians, which marked history as the first time in over a century that an administration does so in over a century. This decision included the death of Brandon Bernard, a 40-year-old man who was convicted of a murder as a teenager in 1999. Lawyer-in-training Kim Kardashian-West advocated for Bernard to be saved, due to the fact that he was not the shooter during the incident and was reported to have had good behaviour in his life behind bars.
More federal executions are scheduled to take place before Biden takes office. To view those cases, click here.
This is only a smidge of the trauma from this year. Unless we continue to push for change, 2021 won’t be much different.
We still need to hold politicians accountable
Donald Trump’s presidency may have grinded the geers of a lot of Americans, but it did remind the country and the media that it's the people's job to hold our representatives accountable.
Regardless of your political beliefs, it’s fair to say that Donald Trump’s presidency was highly unusual. His relationship with the people was splattered onto Twitter rather via formulized events and political debates related almost comically close to reality television.
In other words, the media was always watching and people always had something to say. This cannot end with the Trump presidency. It’s important that the country continues to hold a fine light on President-elect Joe Biden once he takes office, and those that follow in his footsteps in the years forward.
Joe Biden has made America many promises; It is the duty of the people to make sure he keeps them.
Remember to use your voice
While 2020 might have been a drainer, it was a prime example of how change can occur when people speak up.
2021 is not an election year (I know, what a concept!), but there are other ways to express your political opion other than showing up to the polls.
For one, sign petitions! If you have the means to, donate to organizations! Email or call your local and state representatives!
Every ounce of help is valuabe. Remember that.
Consider those who you keep around you this year
A new year always brings reflection, and that includes who you keep around you in your life. Do they encourage you? Do their ears open up when your eyes glimmer about that new show you’re obsessing over? Will they support you for your late night McDouble run?
These are all questions we usually consider of our closest friends, but we should also consider if they will help you grow in your activism. Will they share new bits of information and (kindly) call you out when you misstep? Will they have serious conversations with you, with maturity and compassion even in the moments when disagreements arise?
This doesn’t mean you should only have friends who agree with all over your opinions. (It’s important to all of us to listen to and understand different point of views, even if they aren’t exactly to our likings).
This about having friends who are willing to have these difficult conversations in the first place.
Lauren Rousseau is the Online Editorial Director of Rowdy Magazine. When Lauren's not starring at a phone or laptop screen, she enjoys watching ridiculous reality television, stress-baking and listening to music. You can pitch her stories at firstname.lastname@example.org and find her on Instagram @laurenxrousseau