I am closing out 2020 quite differently than I welcomed it 12 months ago. I’m sure many of you are as well. I still stayed in, but I was at one of my best friend’s houses and we ate and played games as we waited for the countdown to a new year. There were no excess masks laying around, bottles of hand sanitizer, and definitely no social distancing. We had no idea in just three and a half months our lives and how we went about our day-to-day routines would drastically change.
Our daily routines weren’t the only thing to change. With so much death occurring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and death causes by other illnesses, many families, including my own, had to change how we honored our deceased loved ones in death. We could no longer gather or go to the homes of the bereaved to comfort them. I missed my uncle’s funeral due to strict social distancing protocols. I believe it was the first funeral of a loved one I was unable to attend. I was not alone as hundreds of thousands of America and likely across the globe as well. There were 344, 000 people and counting to did not live to see this day as a result of this highly contagious virus. There were more who did not make it due to the untimely deaths at the hands of law enforcement, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. These three individuals and their deaths were not isolated events. Every city has there own Breonnas, Ahmauds and Georges that will likely never garner national attention.
What did gain national attention is the inequity in the healthcare system among Black and non-black patients that was amplified by the pandemic and the fact that millions of Americans were forced to city at home and watch how America operates for everyone, and how it varies greatly across racial and socio-economic demographics. People were outraged and protested, and professed allyship, some of it has sustained throughout the past nine months and much of it faltered.
Unfortunately, the flaws of that have been tightly sewn into the fabric of our great nation will not be fixed overnight, nor in the near future. It will likely take generations for everyone of different races, ethnicities, gender (s), sexual orientation, and socio-economic status to remedy. None of it can be accomplished if there is no accountability and sense of community. Our sense of community is what we need to work on if we want out country to live up to what we say she is. America is not great for everyone, nor beautiful for everyone.
To those who have lost loved ones this year due to COVID or not, I send my condolences. To those who have found themselves in dark places due to the constant regurgitation of overwhelming and debilitating news, I wish you light. As we celebrate this year end, please be safe and think of the health of others. We can only get through this by helping one another.
Goodbye 2020, and hello 2021!