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Est. April 5, 2002
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If you’re reading the column, that means you survived COVID-19 and that you still have some wits about you. What a year! The forced isolation severed us from our critical support systems which we depend on for love, compassion and advice.

Last year is behind us but it is unforgettable. The country endured the most openly corrupt and divisive administration in modern times. Our resilience and sanity was tested with the worst pandemic in 100 years. We discovered that our planet is deteriorating at a much faster rate than previously predicted. Some Christians likened it to the end-of-the-world scriptures in the Bible but all of what we’re going through has been created by mortals.

I like to think of myself as tough and unbending. Experiencing COVID-19 in action on top of all the political drama got to me. I lost friends and family to the pandemic and to drug overdoses. I admitted my vulnerability and signed myself up for a meditating and breathing class to learn some new coping skills. I’ve been doing a lot of deep breathing and chanting.

We have been profoundly affected in ways that are still being revealed. We took to the streets to make our voices heard, to defend our humanity and to save this semblance of a democracy. These fights kept me going during 2020 along with other acts of courage and compassion.

I was especially inspired by Black and Brown people fighting for their very lives and for their dignity. Despite the pandemic hovering around. Despite the laws and court rulings thrown in their way like spike strips. Despite the challenges of accessing vital services. Despite losing jobs and benefits. Despite the pervasive violence all around. Despite….

The full depth of trump’s corruption and devastation is unknown at this point but we’re going to feel these past four years for a very long time.

Our task is to intensify the organizing work over this last year and get to the source of the massive oppression and suffering. Our efforts must be more intense, more strategic and more collective. We have learned a lot about ourselves and the government in this time of crisis. We are a sick nation - weighed down by social disintegration, political corruption and financial greed.

Our political agenda must include pathways to hope and healing if we expect to be/come whole and healthy on both the individual and societal levels. Many around us sunk into despair and self-destructive behavior.

Then there’s the pandemic - growing like an invisible monster in a horror movie. The delivery of vaccine is woefully short of the government’s goal of twenty million by the end of 2020. Will it be as effective as predicted, especially when there’s talk of cutting the dosages in half? The government can get weapons ready in short order for military attacks across the ocean but can’t get life-saving vaccines to people within its continental borders.

I have confidence in the unprecedented wave of folks who made it to a ballot box to oust the tyrant in the White House. The millions who took to the streets to reiterate Black lives will matter. Our mission is not complete because the struggle for human rights is perpetual. We’ll have to dig ourselves out of the financial hole created by the regular capitalist greed and exacerbated by the global pandemic.

Finally, there are the 70 million people who voted for trump. These are the folks who are in lockstep with white supremacy and believe trump is the chosen one to make America white again. They are not going away. These folks truly believe trump was robbed of the election and they will be huge obstacles on the road to democracy and racial justice.

After braving this stressful year, we welcome the year with a healthy dose of realism. We know what’s waiting for us in 2021. We who believe in freedom must embrace the new year with unflinching determination and the relentless pursuit for transformative change. Editorial Board member and Columnist, Jamala Rogers, founder and Chair Emeritus of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis. She is an organizer, trainer and speaker. She is the author of The Best of the Way I See It – A Chronicle of Struggle. Other writings by Ms. Rogers can be found on her blog Contact Ms. Rogers and BC.

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is published Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers