It’s over. My 2020 calendar is literally and figuratively in the trash. Whew.

I was just about to do a happy dance and celebrate the new year when I recalled my mother’s voice: “Look for the good in anything bad that happens.” So, I stopped and reflected on a year that seemed to brim with ‘bad.’ And I’m glad I did. Without that, I might not have realized all the good that has come from the past year’s tragedies.

If it hadn’t been for the COVID-19 quarantine and the quiet of self-isolation, would the world have watched, been absorbed by, and responded to the horror of the murder of George Floyd? And if not for George Floyd’s murder (and far too many others), would racial reckonings have emerged across the country?

Would Black Lives Matter Plaza have been born in Washington DC, offering a visual counterpoint to remarks and policies coming from the White House right across the street?

Would monuments that devalue human life have come down, not just in the United States, but around the world?

Would the symbol of the Confederacy on the Mississippi state flag have finally been replaced?

Would racist team names have been removed from the pro sports teams of Cleveland, Ohio, and Washington, DC?

Would recognizing the need to repurpose police funds, moving from militarization to mental health support, have gained the traction it has?

Would books on invisible racism and the need for racial equity have topped reader’s lists as more and more Americans, particularly White Americans, seek to understand—and address—the truth of America?

Would we have understood the fragility of our country’s democracy and the massive efforts to suppress voters? And without that, would we have voted in record numbers moving away from the toxicity of fascism toward a healthier democratic America?

I grieve the tragedies of 2020, but just as my mother wisely told me, from the bad has come good. The foundation laid last year is what we will build a more positive future upon.

Happy New Year.

16 Replies to “20/20”

  1. Wonderfully said. There are no shadows without light. When shadows seem darkest, turn around and face the light.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Awareness is a gift. 2020 has forced us to face stark realities and, as difficult as that is, awareness is prerequisite to moving ahead. I do grieve for friends and family of people who have died or been hurt by brutality or disease. We can redeem the pain of 2020 if we learn from it, or we can make those experiences even more destructive if we don’t. There’s plenty for all of us to do to move toward redemption.

    1. Janet, I love your comment “We can redeem the pain of 2020 if we learn from it.” I know that I learned a lot in 2020, but so many eyes still to open. Please share the blog as you see fit. Happy New Year.

      1. This is beautifully stated. I have been thinking about this a lot. Wishing you a healthy and hopeful 2021!

  3. Thoughtful and beautiful reflection. We will be working to make sense of 2020 for years to come and I hope that, as you say, it is because it is a foundation on which we build a more equitable society.
    Happy and Healthy 2021 Tamara!

  4. “it’s always darkest before the Dawn”. Happy New Year. after the train wreck of 2020 , 2021 can be both our national rebirth and a repudiation of the last 4 yrs of chaos and infamy. Keep the Faith !

  5. Your mother was a very woman. Looking for the good in the bad forces us to look at situations from a different perspective. 2020 was a time for us to reset and I pray 2021 moves us in a more positive direction. Happy New Year!

  6. Looking back (as you say, “whew!”) on 2020, it’s apparent that very few things are all good or all bad. And, if we can learn from and fight to change the bad, they can become lessons, though often painful. To me, turning the calendar doesn’t mean the last year is forgotten, but that it’s in the rear view mirror. Let’s hope that means some things are behind us, to be replaced (with our work) by some better things ahead of us.

    Tamara, I am so grateful for your wisdom. Wishing you a year ahead full of hope, health, safety, and love.

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