When my family and I sit down for dinner each New Year’s Eve, we go around the table and share our top five moments of the year. It’s a tradition filled with laughter and happiness reminiscing about the year that has passed. But, this year, it will mean something entirely different.
A global pandemic that’s led to 1.8 million deaths worldwide, civil unrest over innocent black people getting killed every day, an election that would, for many, determine the fate of their basic human rights in America, you name it. This year has been eventful in some of the worst ways imaginable. As a sixteen-year-old, I can safely say that this has been the worst, most twisted year of my life.
I would love for January 1 to come and all that 2020 brought with it to be left in the dust, but sadly, I know that’s not the reality. I’ve seen countless texts, tweets and posts about everything returning to normalcy as soon as 2021 rolls around. As much as I, and I’m sure most of the world, would love for that to be the case, we know what will be waiting for us: rising infection rates, the police officers responsible for Breonna Taylor’s death getting to walk free, and an irrational president threatening the integrity of American democracy and refusing to transfer power peacefully. 2020 may be over soon, but many of our problems are far from solved.
Hopefully, we will see some things change as we begin 2021. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were recently made available to essential workers and elderly residents of long term care facilities, marking a change in the course of this virus. People are continuing to speak up and protest against the racism that is still rampant in America. Joe Biden was elected as the 46th president of the United States, defeating incumbent Donald Trump. After four years of lies and damage, I feel safer knowing he’s out of office. But, that doesn’t mean we’re in the clear.
To everyone feeling absolutely exhausted and just wanting this year to end, I’m with you. This year cannot be over soon enough, and even though our problems won’t vanish, we must keep fighting for what we believe in if we want to see real progress.
Keep wearing a mask and social distancing. Listen to the scientists who have spent months searching for a way out of this global pandemic. Keep protesting against innocent lives being lost because of the institutionalized racism and bigotry in our country. Support black-owned and small businesses. Push Joe Biden and his administration to follow through on his promises of canceling student loan debt and tackling the climate crisis. For high school students like me, continue to stay safe and push through online school. Soon enough, change will come.