There were plenty of bad occurrences last year, but there was a lot of good too, particularly in the ways that many have grown through these hardships.
From the COVID-19 pandemic to global anti-racism movements, 2020 was a big year for the world. We have come together as a community, both on a local and global scale, for each other.
The COVID-19 pandemic comes to mind first when you recall all of the craziness in 2020. There were lockdowns worldwide, made even more difficult for some of us because we were isolated from our loved ones. Public health measures were put in place like wearing a mask in public places and physical distancing. There were heavy losses, and many people feared for their health and safety.
However, as I think about all the changes people made in the face of this crisis, from students and teachers adapting to online learning to the hard work of healthcare and frontline workers, I can’t help but be proud of our efforts.
From my point of view, the vast majority of people took this situation seriously, doing everything they could to keep others safe, especially those that are at high risk for COVID-19. This is a huge and unforgettable display of empathy and selflessness.
Another groundbreaking event in 2020 was the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement. This call for anti-racism action was heard all over the world. Millions of people, of all backgrounds worldwide united in the face of discrimination, bigotry and ignorance, fighting for cultural and systemic change. In Saskatoon a number of marches were organized in solidarity, and thousands of people marched to show their support.
During the last six months, many people became further educated on the topic of anti-racism, and once informed, they joined the fight for fair and equal treatment.
A poll by Ipsos concluded that 60 per cent of Canadians think that racism is a serious problem in our country — an increase from last year, when only 47 per cent of Canadians considered it a serious issue. In addition to this, nearly two-thirds of Canadians have shown some level of support for the BLM movement.
This movement was a time when many seized the opportunity for self-growth, and worked to become better allies to those around them.
Again, in this instance we saw people take steps, from protesting to donating, that furthered a better, more just society. That is an uplifting thought.
I know how easy it is to feel stuck in the 2020 slump — to have been so flooded with bad news that you’re just resigned to it. But this year wasn’t all bad, and it’s important to remember the positive changes as well.
Millions of people around the globe were united through common hardship and causes last year, whether that be in the face of a pandemic or marching in a movement for racial justice, in a way that has never happened before. We learned lessons in empathy, compassion, patience, selflessness and acceptance. Our actions reflected a shared goal to help one another get through trying times, not put each other down.
2020 was a hard year, there’s no doubt about that. But I like to think that it made each of us into a little bit of a better person.
This op-ed was written by a University of Saskatchewan undergraduate student and reflects the views and opinions of the writer. If you would like to write a rebuttal, please email email@example.com. Beth Zentner is a first-year undergraduate student studying history and has been volunteering for the Sheaf since September 2020.
Beth Zentner | Contributing Reporter
Graphic: Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro | Culture Editor