By Maya Henry, New Media Council Member

2020 has been a year for the books: from the initial COVID-19 outbreak in March to the swell of Black Lives Matter protests in late May; from the devastating explosion in Beirut on August 4 that killed at least 190 people to the passing of legends such as Justice Ginsberg, Eddie Van Halen, and Chadwick Bosman. Nothing about the past year has been forgettable. Unfortunately, memorable isn’t always synonymous with joyous.

The past twelve months have taught the world that banding together can bring change and strength. It is my most sincere hope that as 2020 comes to a close, this divided country and planet will further come together to collectively heal, fight, and peacefully transition into a new year. 

There is much assuaging to be done in the following months. Hundreds of thousands of families are reeling from the sickness and death COVID-19 has brought. Deep scars caused by unjust policing systems will take much more than time to scab over. Those left jobless, on the streets, and/or hungry due to the economic crash will not find themselves miraculously safe on January 1st.

Change and recovery don’t come without hard work, though. The oldest form of resistance–protest–has truly been a unifying act, and a successful one, too. 

2021 will without a doubt be full of calls for change, be it for an affordable vaccine, masks mandates, the abolishment of police, or another round of stimulus checks. As the country calls for a better world, maybe, just maybe we will gradually create one.

‘Gradually’ is a word we will absolutely have to grow accustomed to as much as we’ll have to be open to ‘change.’ We are already learning how to be patient as restaurants, entertainment facilities, workplaces, and schools slowly reopen and test out hybrid models, and this will certainly continue in the new year. On a more observable level, we will all witness what I hope is a peaceful and kind transition of power in the White House come January as President-elect Biden prepares to take the reins from President Trump. 

If these past 12 months taught the nation and world anything, it’s that nothing is predictable. We don’t know what’s in store for us in 2021, and while this realization can be daunting and horrifying, it also presents an opportunity to decide what we want to happen and change, and then work towards that. 

GSA Network and the New Media Council’s fight for racial and LGBTQ+ justice will only grow stronger and more vocal. I hope that the country’s battle for unity and equality will, too.